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the official distractions website

Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hasta siempre, The Distractions

This is a translation of the historical and preview piece that Pacopepe Gil wrote at Plastico Elastico earlier this year:

The Distractions are bidding farewell with a new album, "Kindly Leave The Stage", which will be their third and last album


By Pacopepe Gil

On May 12, veteran British punk band The Distractions will say goodbye with the release of a new album, "Kindly Leave The Stage". It will be the third album in the career of the Manchester group after its stunning debut in 1980 with "Nobody's Perfect".

The thing about these guys is truly a world record. Nothing less than 32 years happened between the publication of his first LP and the appearance of the second one, "The End of the Pier", released in 2012 via Occultation Recordings. Five years later and with the same label they publish a third work that suggest it's also their final farewell.

Formed in 1975 by two colleagues, singer Mike Finney and guitarist Steve Perrin, The Distractions plunged into punk rock from '77 with a punk rock sound with sixties influences. At the time and as was style, logically the group ended up rubbing shoulders with groups like Magazine, Buzzcocks and Joy Division. In 1978 they released their first record, an EP entitled "You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That", published by TJM Records.

After releasing a new single with the song "Time Goes By So Slow", released by Factory Records, they signed for Island Records, who released a couple of singles, "It Does not Bother Me" backed with"One Way Love" and the other, "Boys Cry" with "Paracetamol Paralysis" on the reverse. Then came the album "Nobody's Perfect", which contained some of the previous singles and a handful of new songs that featured an urgent band with a lot of fuss that made a restless mix of new wave and punk. As the album did not have good sales, that ended in separation.

Finney and Perry continued making music in different projects and at the end of the '90s they met and recorded some stuff. At the beginning of 2010 they got together to chat about the old days and revisited those tapes which resulted in EP through Occultation Recordings under the title of "Black Velvet". And as one thing led to another, they ended up in the studio recording a new EP, "Come Home".

Eventually they recorded an LP, "The End Of The Pier", which came to light in August 2012 and even toured the UK [well, August and September 2012 in Salford!]. A second youth.

Five years later, The Distractions have achieved much more. On the one hand, a retrospective entitled "Age + Geography" and covers practically their entire career and will hit the market under the umbrella of HiddenMasters. And also a new album, "Kindly Leave The Stage" by Occultation Recordings, with which also be their final album.

The new LP goes on sale next May 12 and will do so on 180 gram vinyl, CD and digital download. There will also be a limited edition of 250 copies that will include the LP and CD, plus a 10" mini-LP, "The Distractions Go Dark", with inner sleeve notes written by Steve Perrin. The first hundred copies will include a poster and a postcard. This deluxe edition will only be available through the Occultation Recordings label and its partners in the Southern Hemisphere, Fishrider Records.

Until always, The Distractions.

For our Spanish friends, here's the original article:

The Distractions se despiden con un nuevo disco “Kindly Leave The Stage” será su tercer y último álbum


Pacopepe Gil

El próximo 12 de mayo, la veterana banda punk británica The Distractions dirán adiós con la edición de un nuevo disco, “Kindly Leave The Stage”. Será el tercer álbum en la carrera del grupo de Manchester tras su impactante debut en 1980 con “Nobody´s Perfect”.

Lo de estos chicos es verdaderamente de record mundial. Nada menos que 32 años tuvieron que pasar entre la publicación de su primer disco y la aparición del segundo, “The End of The Pier”, publicado en 2012 a través de Occultation Recordings. Cinco años más tarde y con el mismo sello editan un tercer trabajo que, además, supone su definitiva despedida.

Formados en 1975 de la mano de dos colegas, el cantante Mike Finney y el guitarrista Steve Perrin, The Distractions se sumergió en la movida punk del 77 con un sonido de punk rock con influencias sesenteras. Por la época y el estilo, lógicamente el grupo terminó codeándose con formaciones como Magazine, Buzzcocks o Joy Division. En 1979 sacaron su primer disco, un EP titulado “You´re Not Going Out Dressed Like That”, publicado por Factory Records.

Tras publicar un nuevo single con la canción “Time Goes By So Slow”, ficharon por Island Records, que les publicó un par de sencillos, uno con “It Doesn´t Bother Me” y “One Way Love” y el otro con “Boys Cry” y “Paracetamol Paralysis” en el reverso. Entonces llegó el álbum “Nobody´s Perfect”, que contenía algunos de los singles previos y un puñado de temas nuevos que mostraban una banda urgente y con mucho desparpajo que hacía una inquieta mezcla de new wave y punk. Como el disco no tuvo buenas ventas, aquello terminó en separación.

Finney y Perry siguieron haciendo música en diferentes proyectos y a finales de los 90 se reunieron y grabaron alguna cosilla. A principios de 2010 se volvieron a juntar para charlar y trabajar sobre aquellas cintas  que terminaron editadas como un EP a través de Occultation Recordings bajo el título de “Black Velvet”. Y como una cosa trajo otra y terminaron en el estudio grabando un nuevo EP, “Come Home”.

Al final le cogieron gustillo al asunto y grabaron un LP, “The End Of The Pier”, que salió a la luz en agosto de 2012 e incluso hicieron una gira por el Reino Unido. Una segunda juventud.

Cinco años más tarde, The Distraction han completado varias cosas. Por un lado una retrospectiva titulada “Parabolically Yours” y que cubre prácticamente toda su carrera y que sale al mercado bajo el paraguas de HiddenMasters. Y además un nuevo álbum, “Kindly Leave The Stage” mediante Occultation Recordings, con el que además dan por finiquitada su existencia.

El nuevo LP sale a la venta el próximo 12 de mayo y lo hará en vinilo de 10 gramos, en CD y en descarga digital. También habrá una edición Deluxe limitada de 250 unidades que incluirá el LP y el CD, un 10” mini-LP, “The Distractions Go Dark”, con notas interiores escritas por Steve Perrin. Los cien primeros ejemplares incluirán un poster y una tarjeta. Este pack Deluxe sólo estará disponible a través del sello Occultation Recordings y de sus socios en el hemisferio sur Fishrider Records.

Hasta siempre, The Distractions.

(c) Pacopepe Gil at Plastico Elastico

Monday, June 26, 2017

Go Dark

Nothing is normal with The Distractions, and the last ever release of new material was on that rare format, 10" vinyl, and comprised an 18-string-laden song from the new album, one written in 1981, a new song, and three acoustic tracks from the second album. Only 250 copies are available, available exclusively from Occultation Recordings and Fishrider Records with the deluxe edition of the new LP.

In the first ever review of Kindly Leave The Stage by our friend Rarebird Rock and Roll Nest in the US, there was a separate review of the The Distractions 'Go Dark' EP, which is kindly reproduced in full below.

The Distractions "Go Dark" (2017) 

March 15, 2017

The Distractions were an unjustly overlooked band from Manchester, England, who recorded only one full-length album, 1980's Nobody's Perfect, during their original run. They broke up in 1981 after failing to achieve commercial success, but there have been a number of Distractions reunions in recent years, featuring original singer Mike Finney and original guitarist Steve Perrin. A new lineup released a second Distractions album, titled The End Of The Pier, in 2012 -- 32 years after the debut album. And now, the Distractions are about to issue their third -- and, they say, final -- album, titled Kindly Leave The Stage, on May 12, 2017. 

Although the album’s official release date is two months away, the album can be pre-ordered from the Occultation Recordings website. Some of the packages offered also include a 10-inch vinyl EP called Go Dark, which is limited to 250 copies. There might still be time to obtain one!

Go Dark is a 10-inch vinyl-only EP limited to 250 copies, sold only through internet orders by Occultation and the New Zealand label Fishrider Records. The three songs on Side A are Kindly Leave The Stage outtakes, recorded in September 2015. Surprisingly, those three tracks sound quite reminiscent of the original Distractions. In fact, “Nothing Lasts” was written by original member Adrian Wright, shortly before the band’s 1981 dissolution; it has a throbbing bass line that gives it a new-wave-like tension, and it brings out some of the old emotional intensity in Finney’s singing. Finney shows some of that same zest in the 18-string version of “Last To Leave”, which has a faster tempo and a fuller, more jangly guitar sound than the version on the album. An even bigger surprise comes when Perrin takes the lead vocal on the moody ‘60’s-style ballad “Skin”; he doesn’t have Finney’s soul, but Perrin’s crooning does have a haunting quality of its own.

The three songs on Side B are acoustic renditions of songs from The End Of The Pier, recorded in June 2011 by Finney, Perrin, and Halliwell. Former Spooky Tooth drummer Mike Kellie (who passed away this past January) played a bodhrán on “Too Late To Change”, giving this rendition a distinct Celtic flavor. The acoustic version of “Girl Of The Year” is equally as effective as the album version at conveying the loneliness of the title character. “Wise”, which was written by Halliwell, is sung as a duet between Finney and Perrin, making them sound like gently bickering bandmates.

If you’ve been wishing that the newer Distractions material sounded a little more like the older stuff, then the "Go Dark" EP may be just what you're looking for.

The Distractions "Go Dark" EP (Occultation YMIR7E1051) 2017 

Track Listing:

1. Last To Leave (18-string version)
2. Nothing Lasts 
3. Skin
4. Too Late To Change (acoustic)
5. Girl Of The Year (acoustic)
6. Wise (acoustic) 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Do you want to record for Factory?

This is the second half of the wonderful April article by our good friends at Fishrider Records. While part 1 focussed on the new album, this takes us back to Manchester, late '70s...
Dunedin, New Zealand

The Distractions - “Kindly Leave the Stage”

Steve Perrin of The Distractions, recording 'Kindly Leave The Stage' in Exeter, September 2015

Steve Perrin on the Manchester post-punk scene in the late 1970s…
“It was a much more diverse scene to start with than people seem to give it credit for in retrospect. In retrospect everyone’s got a leather jacket and spikey hair, whereas if you’d taken photographs of the initial line up of Buzzcocks, The Fall, us, Warsaw or whatever we all looked pretty different and we all played pretty different kind of stuff but we just happened to be friends. We knew each other and played on the same bill and people didn’t have a problem with that. People didn’t seem to think it was odd that us, who were basically a pop band, sang love songs, were supporting The Fall who were a different proposition altogether. That didn’t seem strange.”
…and on how The Distractions were signed to Factory Records in 1979
“Tony Wilson rang my Mum, and I was not around, so I got home and she said “Peter from The Buzzcocks and that Tony Wilson off the telly have been on the phone”. She just got used to that sort of thing. Tony was very good with people’s Mums. He could be very charming.
Then I spoke to him and he said “we’re really interested in doing something and you’re going to be single of the week in the NME.” I thought he was a bit mixed up, because what had actually happened was there was a review in the NME by John Cooper-Clarke [of their first EP on TJM Records], which was a very short, positive, short review, so I thought maybe he’s had a drink or something. And what had happened is he’d spoken to Paul Morley who had told him that he was not happy with the John Cooper-Clarke review and he was going to review it again next week and make it single of the week that week. So that was that. And he said “Do you want to record for Factory?” and we went “Yes, we do”.”
“Time Goes By So Slow” was released in September 1978, catalogue number FAC12. FAC 13 the following month was “Transmission” by Joy Division.
Mike Finney, The Distractions, NME

Monday, June 12, 2017

A special album

Here's the first part of an article from April by our good friends at Fishrider Records:

Dunedin, New Zealand

The Distractions - “Kindly Leave the Stage”

Fishrider Records is proud to co-release the third and apparently final album by Manchester post-punk legends The Distractions with our UK partners Occultation Recordings. The Distractions songwriter Steve Perrin now lives in New Zealand and the drummer on this album is Fishrider Records & The Puddle’s Ian Henderson, so the album has a strong local NZ and Dunedin connection.

“Kindly Leave The Stage”, is released less than 5 years after the critically-acclaimed “The End of the Pier”. That second album took over 30 years to appear following their 1980 Island Records debut “Nobody’s Perfect”, which came out a year after their Factory Records single “Time Goes By So Slow” in 1979 – the single immediately preceding Joy Division’s “Transmission” single.

7″ Singles by The Distractions 1979 – 1981

Fast forward to 2017 and time no longer goes by so slow for founding members guitarist and songwriter Steve Perrin and vocalist Mike Finney. “The classic narrative structure is beginning-middle-end so three seemed like the right number,” says Steve. “Also I thought it was important to formally say ‘goodbye’, both to the fans and to each other.” Mike adds, “I think that there was a lot of unfinished business after the first album, and I feel lucky that we got the chance to complete it properly.” The Distractions, not so much a great lost band as a great found band, are taking a final bow.

Ian responded to a distress call when regular Distractions drummer Mike Kellie was unable to make the “Kindly Leave the Stage” sessions due to ill health. Sadly Mike passed away earlier this year. The album is dedicated to his memory. He was very much part of these sessions in spirit, such was the impact he made on the other Distractions in their time together in the studio and on stage. Mike was a larger-than-life legend, with a drumming career starting in the late 1960s with Spooky Tooth, then playing with post-punk band The Only Ones between 1979 and 1982 (and again when they reformed in 2007).

This is a special album for a lot of reasons. The international rescue mission by a spare drummer from the Dunedin label that has worked closely with Occultation Recordings (appearing in human form here as the Distractions other guitarist Nick Halliwell) was also a fitting way for Fishrider to repay the generosity shown by Occultation Recordings over the years in helping our artists’ releases find a foothold in the UK and Europe, and to celebrate 5 years of a label arrangement spanning the whole wide world.

“Kindly Leave the Stage” is available on LP and CD and as a download. It also comes in a very limited edition package with an additional 6-song 10″ mini-album of unreleased songs, poster and other items. It is available in NZ/ Australia/ Oceania from Fishrider Records and in the UK/ Europe and US from Occultation Recordings.

Part 2 coming soon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

National treasures

With another fine review of The Distractions' remarkable third and final album, here's Paul Pledger at Flipside Reviews.




I don't know. You wait 32 years for one Distractions album to come along and then blow me, they deliver a second in a fifth of the time. This, their third full-length set comes in numerous format combinations, the most essential of which is the deluxe vinyl edition, complete with the 10" EP Go Dark, the vinyl and CD versions of Kindly Leave The Stage, a poster and artwork. A slap on the back is due to Occultation for compiling another collectable package.

And further slaps on backs are due to the band members themselves (including label honcho Nick Halliwell who, because, despite bearing a title that might suggest a desperate live recording, this is prime studio material recorded in the label's hometown of Exeter barely five years after the last LP, suggesting the Manchester outfit have legs yet.

Sadly though, Kindly Leave the Stage is chiefly about goodbyes - it's a swansong, a final curtain and the poignancy starts right at the beginning with A Few Miles More. When Mike Finney trills "There's no virtue in survival / not if you constantly repeat the same mistakes...", you already sense that this is not just a chapter ending, it's the whole book, cover and all. It is also one of The Distractions' most accomplished songs, alongside their Factory one-off Time Goes By So Slow, the singles It Doesn't Bother Me and Lost and the preceding album's Girl Of The Year. It's an emotional start.

The theme of departure and unrequited love continues on Last To Leave and the glorious Wake Up and Kiss Me Goodbye, both nods to an era when heartache and heartbreak steered '60s pop songwriters towards million-sellers and screaming fans. The Distractions have courted only a limited audience since debuting in 1979 with the frenetic EP You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That, without so much as a sniff of a hit since. Island Records failed to convert the record-buying public, yet Occultation (tiny in comparison) have probably achieved far more in keeping The Distractions firmly ensconced as national treasures.

On every Distractions release comes fully fitted with a lip-trembler and this one is no exception. Head to The Connection's Dropped Again for the beginning of a trio of introspective little vignettes designed to unlock the tearducts and keep the lachrymosity flowing. It's the blurry lock-in after last orders, the last drops of single malt, the shutters are down, the hall is empty and it's time for bed. Or in this case, the last dance at The End Of The Pier.

The deluxe bonus has a 10" EP has the fabulous Nothing Lasts and Skin, both worthy of being singles in a parallel universe, as well as a string of alternate versions of various album tracks - well worth purchasing from Occultation direct.


Posted 16th April by Paul Pledger

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Age + Geography

The long-awaited Distractions book set...

The Distractions

age + geography

More news soon, so keep an eye on here, at HiddenMasters, on Facebook and on Twitter...

Friday, April 14, 2017

Unfinished business

The official release date of 12th May is still a month away, but 'Kindly Leave The Stage' (order direct from Occultation here) has already been garnering some lovely press. Here's a piece at Flight of Pegasus - Full Metal Radio:


    New album "Kindly Leave The Stage" out on May 12th!

    After achieving some sort of world record by leaving a 32-year gap between the release of their first and second albums – 1980’s 'Nobody’s Perfect' and 2012’s 'The End Of The Pier' – The Distractions have sped things up and now, after a gap of less than five years, release their third (and final) album, 'Kindly Leave The Stage'.

    The story of The Distractions – from Manchester punk era legends to critically-rated pop geniuses to a quarter century of silence, and then a more-than-slight return with a 21st century album of grown-up, wise, elegiac guitar music – is also the story of Mike Finney, one of the great blue-eyed soul voices, and Steve Perrin, a guitarist whose sense of melody and lightness is the perfect counterfoil to Finney’s emotional grit. Mike and Steve have been the core of The Distractions for 40 years, from the thrash of 'It Doesn’t Bother Me' and the Factory Records classic 'Time Goes By So Slow' to the maturity of 'The End Of The Pier' and, now, the superb 'Kindly Leave The Stage'.

    It’s been a long, strange trip. Not every band gets a third act. “The classic narrative structure is beginning-middle-end so three seemed like the right number,” says Steve. “Also I thought it was important to formally say 'goodbye', both to the fans and to each other.”

    Mike agrees. “It’s a fond farewell to each other, which had me in tears a few times. I hope it isn’t a deathbed confession, I’ve gotta whole lotta livin’ to do yet.”

    With the assistance of new(ish) Distraction Nick Halliwell, the band’s sound may be more introspective and stripped-down, but The Distractions are still The Distractions. “The Distractions have always been an unalloyed delight,” says Nick, and that sense of a band who are also a group of friends shines through here. From the Buzzcocks-via-Scott Walker wistfulness of 'Wake Up And Kiss Me Goodbye' to the gorgeous, Ray Davies-y 'The End Of The Pier', this is a record which mixes thoughtfulness with throwaway brilliance and melancholy with melody.

    “Nick asked me what the key word for the album was,” says Steve, “And I said 'resignation', in both senses. Although there's a real sadness in saying 'goodbye' to something that has been a hugely significant part of our lives I don't think it's all doom and gloom.”

    Mike adds, “I think that there was a lot of unfinished business after the first album, and I feel lucky that we got the chance to complete it properly.”

    The Distractions, not so much a great lost band as a great found band, are taking a final bow. Time to appreciate what they were and what they are.

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