All Posts,mp3,Old Music — Dan on October 2, 2007 at 12:07 am

We here at Acute are very proud to announce the release of our latest CD, Hungry Beat by the Fire Engines. Hungry Beat contains all of the Fire Engines studio recordings, culled from their first self-released single, and 2 singles and a mini-LP on the Pop Aural label. I’m not going to bother going into a whole history of this band, how they were the UKs answer to No Wave, how they played with Orange Juice and Josef K and were basically one of the coolest bands of the post-punk era, or any era. There are plenty of resources online, including the Hungry Beat release page on the Acute site, which includes samples, some press, photos and some great sleeves and flier artwork. I figure I’d take this chance to just share some music, like the amazing song:

Meat Whiplash
control-click to download

and talk about how this release came about, this blog is more like LiveJournal than it is Mojo, right?

I honestly don’t remember where or when I first heard the Fire Engines, if somebody out there remembers, maybe they can remind me? It was probably some time near the end of college when I was first really getting schooled in the whole late 70s/early 80s post-punk type scene. No matter when it was, it certainly burrowed its way into my skull. Pretty much one of those perfect combinations of pop and noise. Their music was so disciplined in its purity, but performed with reckless abandon, the sheer aggression of the music, all trebly screetching guitars and tom tom grooves, in constant battle with some kind of hook. Maybe not always the type of hook you’re average pop fan would recognize, but if you were raised on the Velvets “I Heard Her Call My Name” and Captain Beefheart, surely you could sing along to this. Their No Wave influence, particularly the Contortions, was evident, and it wasn’t hard to put them on a similar pedestal as some of their contemporaries, particularly Josef K and Marine.

It was as a fan of that stuff that I first started thinking about doing a reissue label. There wasn’t a ton of talk about “post-punk” in the mid/late 90s and not that many people cared about the records. My sister would go to London with a list from me and come home with every Rough Trade 7″ ever for a buck or 3, and even the copy of the Fire Engines’ Lubricate Your Living Room mini-LP that served as the basis for our Hungry Beat sleeve. But a few kids were definitely getting into it and there was the occasional reissue. In 1998 or so, a European record label called Marina released a Josef K compilation called Endless Soul and it was quite a buzz at the hip record stores in NY. It got me thinking about all the other great music that was out of print, and some which had never even been released in the US. I never thought much about “imports” or where something was released, I understood it cost a few bucks extra but thought that was about it. What I didn’t realize it what kind of impact a release may or may not have depending on where it’s released.

It was around this time I learned there was actually a Fire Engines CD. It was called Fond and was the first release on Rev-Ola, a reissue imprint started as a division of Creation Records by Creation co-founder and british punk legend Joe Foster. At the time I found Fond, it had already come and gone in the UK and yet almost nobody in America had any idea it even existed. I got a copy somehow, as even then the price was starting to rise and all I could think of was the kids, the children, the youth of america, and how sad it was that they’ve never had the chance to hear something as awesome as the Fire Engines!

So I got in touch with some folks at Rev-Ola, which may already have gone into flux as Creation was closing up shop, and/or Fond had had it’s day. I learned the man to talk to was Bob Last, founder of the legendary Fast Records (another post for another day) and the Pop Aural label. A bit of internet sleuthing and emailing and I was able to find him. You know, with myspace and all that, it’s easier than ever to find some people online these days, but back in the early days of the world wide web, it was just amazing who you could reach. So we started talking.

Meanwhile, I was discovering some other cool stuff, like all the unreleased Theoretical Girls material, and was working on that and had an Acute website (remember that?) but didn’t really know what I was doing record label-wise(little has changed). Meanwhile, I had met Luke from the Rapture and started Transmission at Plant Bar, our little post-punk disco happening and people interested in post-punk started coming out of the woodwork. Through journalist Mike Rubin, I meet Simon Reynolds, who becomes a regular at Transmission, to some degree. I hook him up with Bob, my little contribution to the greatness that became his book Rip It Up and Start Again. One day he brings his friend Todd from Carpark records down to Plant Bar and introduces us. Todd says “I’d like Bob’s number because I want to reissue the Fire Engines stuff” and I say “umm, no, I want to reissue the Fire Engines stuff”. And he says “well why don’t we do it together” and the rest is a history very few people would care about, but it’s my blog so I’m going to keep on. This must have been 2000 or so. Todd and I started working on Acute and kept in touch with Bob and later the Fire Engines themselves. We’d put out 8 other CDs, Domino Records would release a Fire Engines radio, live and demo sessions CD, the band would re-form, break-up, then re-form again, all before we finally got Hungry Beat out. Why? Maybe that’s another story for another post, but it sounds a little something like this:

Hungry Beat
control-click to download

For more information and to purchase Hungry Beat, check out the Hungy Beat page on, some fun stuff and we’ll be adding to it when we can. Oh, and here they are lip-synching their last single, Big Gold Dream, which also appears on Hungry Beat in a newly remastered and unedited version.



  1. Still sounds amazingly ‘out there’ today! There was, and still is, nobody like them. Got the CDs today, cheers, love the booklet, presentation etc, very true to the original aesthetic. I wish you all the best with this fantastic compilation – pleased to have been involved in a minor way!!

    Comment by Innes Reekie — October 22, 2007 @ 11:59 am
  2. Thanks!

    Comment by Dan — October 22, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

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