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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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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Debut


When Tony Davidson of Manchester label, TJM Records, turned up at a Distractions gig and offered to release a record, it set the group off on an all-too brief recording career which took in two of the must celebrated labels of all time, Factory and Island. Their 1978 debut, TJM2, was a terrific 12" four-track extended player, recorded at the Arrow Sounds studio on Jacksons Row. When I first heard them, on You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That, I was shocked at the sound of the thing. The guitars weren't buzz-saw Ramones/Buzzcocks at all! Pretty much every new group releasing their first record then had the distortion switched on. Indeed, as Mancunians I was expecting something along the lines of the Buzzcocks, a group I adored at the time as they wrote fantastic pop songs but delivered them with attitude - and a buzz-saw guitar sound. The sounds of the Distractions' instruments weren't punk at all, and in many ways I felt this made them more punk than many of the other records appearing at the time. Like Pete Shelley, they dealt in matters of the heart, but they did so on a much more down-to-earth level; there was nothing coy about them at all.
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Another interpretation of this first record was that "You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That already showed that they did not intend to limit themselves to the usual new wave sounds. These four songs show influences including Elvis Costello, early Kinks, early Byrds (singer Mike Finney sounds uncannily like Gene Clark on this EP), and dashes of surf-rock and psychedelia (Rarebird)".
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Side 1........................................................Side 2
Doesn't Bother Me (Perrin/Finney)........Maybe It's Love (Perrin/Finney)
Nothing (Perrin/Finney)...........................Too Young (Perrin/Finney)
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Both tracks on side 1 ended up being re-released by Island following the Distractions move from TJM via Factory and that one glorious record, FAC12. Doesn't Bother Me was re-recorded and released as a lovely single, It Doesn't Bother Me, on white vinyl in 1979 prior to Nobody's Perfect, which itself contained a polished reprise of Nothing.

So, only six tracks committed to vinyl on TJM and Factory before the move to Island, but what a start...
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