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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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Friday, August 18, 2017

A band you love beyond all reason

A few months ago David Quantick wrote about "his band", The Distractions, in his first Record Collector column. I think there's a few of us out that think the same of this wonderful group...


DAVID QUANTICK LIKES

The debut of our new columnist David Quantick

I don't know if you have a band that you love beyond all reason. I'm sure you do. Mine is The Distractions, a Manchester group who emerged during punk with a melodic genius, a way with wry lyrics and, in Mike Finney, the great blue-eyed soul voice of its day. The Distractions, who had great singles like Time Goes By So Slow and It Doesn't Bother Me, always sound to me like Buzzcocks on Mowtown, and I love their sole album from the time, 'Nobody's Perfect'.

They also wrote, but never recorded, a beautiful, sad and powerful song called Nothing Lasts, which you can't get anywhere. When they re-formed a few years back to make their second album ('The End Of The Pier', only 32 years after their debut), I asked them about Nothing Lasts. They made polite noises, but it was from the end of their early career and it seemed they didn't really want to talk about it. (Mike did find me an old live recording of it, which was wonderful.)

One night I went to see The Distractions in Salford, where they were playing two nights at Paul Heaton's pub, The King's Arms. They were brilliant, the years falling off them like leaves from a mighty oak. And then Mike introduced a song, and Steve said, "This one's for our friend Dave," and they played Nothing Lasts. And I could barely hear it for the tears. So that was all right.

The Distractions' third and final album, 'Kindly Leave The Stage', is out on Occultation Recordings on 12 May 2007.




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A musical legacy - their finest moment

Here's a long and lovely review of 'Kindly Leave The Stage' by Malcolm Carter at Penny Black Music. Both Malcolm and Penny Black are long-time supporters of The Distractions, and their wonderful online fanzine comes highly recommended (sign up here).


The Distractions - Kindly Leave the Stage

Occultation Recordings, 2017 

Malcolm Carter 
08/05/2017 


“I know we used to think that time went by too slow/Now there’s nothing left to do and there’s nowhere left to go”. 

It’s not unusual to interpret lyrics differently than the way they were intended by the artist. But lines like the above, taken from ‘Nowhere’, on The Distractions' third album, ‘Kindly Leave The Stage’, are crying out to be deciphered in a way other than composer Steve Perrin had in mind. 

Most of the Manchester band’s songs deal with matters of the heart, in their own particular way. Many long time fans will smile or find themselves welling up at the closing lines of ‘Nowhere’ (even if it was tongue in cheek). Especially as this album is being touted as the last The Distractions will ever make. The point is that The Distractions do have somewhere to go; their new songs better even those on their classic debut from 1980. 

It took The Distractions some 32 years to follow up ‘Nobody’s Perfect’; a brace of warmly received EPs and a change in line-up resulted in 2012’s ‘End Of The Pier': ten original songs in which original Distractions vocalist Mike Finney and guitarist and main songwriter Steve Perrin were joined by The Granite Shore’s Nick Halliwell (who produced the set), Mike Kellie on drums, Arash Torabi (June Brides and The Granite Shore) on bass and Nick Garside on keyboards. Halliwell’s understanding and love of The Distractions earlier work resulted in possibly the best track on ‘End Of The Pier’, the melancholy ‘Wise’, which was surely inspired by the demise of the original Distractions. We noted at the time that ‘End Of The Pier’ was like the older brother of ‘Nobody’s Perfect’; that punky edginess had diminished. That said, Mike Finney’s soulful vocals had aged well and sounded even more expressive on the new album. 

Five years later, and Finney, Perrin, Halliwell and Torabi are back this time with Ian Henderson (The Puddle) on drums. The legendary Mike Kellie sadly passed away in January of this year and was too ill to take part in these recordings, (this writer can still just about remember, as a very young teen, seeing Mike play as part of Spooky Tooth, R.I.P. Mike). 

Because Steve Perrin now resides in New Zealand, it’s more than likely that the claims that this will be The Distractions swansong will be proven to be true. Mike Finney is currently playing some gigs with original Distractions drummer Alex Sidebottom, but as for new recordings, this looks like the end. 

The guitar sound that Halliwell, as producer, captured on ‘The End Of The Pier’ is prevalent here, and the bass is forward in the mix again. There are times when the bass is the focal instrument, ‘Last To Leave’ being a prime example. You find yourself following the bass line long before Finney’s longing vocals (and those heavenly backing vocals) come in. 

While none of the tracks speed along like ‘(Stuck In A) Fantasy’ from their debut, everything that made and still makes The Distractions so important shines through. The melodies that both Perrin and Halliwell craft are addictive, and lyrically both writers express affairs of the heart in a way that is distinctively their own. Halliwell’s production is perfect; the way the backing vocals are recorded is a work of art itself. The choir of ghosts that repeat the line“image from a half forgotten dream” on ‘Talking To Myself’ is a fine example of the care and love that has been put into this project. 

Although in many ways ‘Kindly Leave The Stage’ is a natural continuation of the work The Distractions did on ‘The End Of The Pier’, it appears to be a more resigned collection of songs and performances than those they presented five years ago. The knowledge that this is the final time they will record together obviously informs this album. 

Where there was once frustration in Finney’s soulful interpretations of Perrin’s lyrics, there now sits the wisdom that comes with age. Finney is still one of our most underrated singers, time has not dimmed the emotion in his vocals, the opposite has happened; he’s even more convincing now. Without underplaying the input from drummer Henderson and, as touched upon earlier, bassist Torabi lends so much to the overall sound of the album the combination of Finney, Perrin and Halliwell is one made in musical heaven. 

While not even their biggest fans would have expected The Distractions to ever recapture the edgy pop that made ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ so special, the mere fact that the principal players got together 30 years later and made a brilliant second album that took their music to another level (helped in no small part by Halliwell) was more than we could have hoped for. ‘The End Of The Pier’ matches their debut song for song, so to declare ‘Kindly Leave The Stage’ as the best Distractions album is a bold statement. But it is. 

We’ve not had the chance to live with these songs for 35 years, or even the five years for which ‘The End Of The Pier’ has been a part of our lives, but in just a few weeks this latest collection of songs, despite the sadness that hangs over it, has shown itself to be an album of solid, intelligent pop music that will last the test of time. When two talents such as Perrin and Halliwell get together and produce songs of the calibre of ‘Wake Up And Kiss Me Goodbye’ (complete with brass from Probyn Gregory), we can’t help but think what the results would have been if The Distractions stayed together as a band and made further recordings with this line-up. 

The darkest song on the album, ‘The Connection’s Dropped Again’, a Halliwell song, shows once again how Finney’s vocals have matured; it’s a spine-chilling performance and the song allows the band a chance to experiment a little; imagine if there was more of this to come. 

The gentle ‘Tell Them I’m Not Here’ is the last Perrin contribution on the album. Again, the lyrics can be taken a number of ways; a letter to a lost love or a goodbye to band members? Finney turns in one of his best ever vocal performances, and those heavenly backing vocals again add so much to the song. 

The album ends with a Halliwell song, ‘The End Of The Pier’; more appropriate here than on the album it shares a name with. Perrin also uses those words in his preceding song; it appears that the band want to hammer the message home that this will definitely be the last Distractions album. But there’s also the feeling that there’s some regret felt. Again, the lyrics can be taken as directed at a failed relationship or the break-up of a band; it’s a lovely, understated performance and a perfect way to end the album. 

As usual with Occultation Recordings releases the album is beautifully presented and available in a number of options. There is a 10” vinyl mini-LP limited to just 250 copies bundled with some copies of ‘Kindly Leave The Stage’ and only available on the Occultation website (http://www.occultation.co.uk) and through the New Zealand label Fishrider Records which features six songs unavailable elsewhere. Three are acoustic versions of songs that appeared on the ‘The End Of The Pier’ album; one of which, ‘Too Late To Change’, features Mike Kellie on bodhran, the last recording he ever made with the band. 

The other three songs are outtakes from ‘Kindly Leave The Stage’; an 18-string version of ‘Last To Leave’, a Steve Perrin lead vocal on his song ‘Skin’ and most surprisingly, a track written by original Distraction Adrian Wright titled ‘Nothing Lasts’. At the time of writing, this mini-album wasn’t available to listen to, but the acoustic version of ‘Wise’ has been up on YouTube for a week or two. 

It’s sad that The Distractions have chosen this time to leave us; ‘Kindly Leave The Stage’ is their finest moment, but they’ve left a musical legacy that few bands will ever match. 

Track Listing: 

01) A few Miles more 
02) Last to leave 
03) Talking to myself 
04) What the Night does 
05) The Fire 
06) Wake up and kiss me goodbye 
07) Nowhere 
08) The Connection's dropped again 
09) Tell them I'm not here 
10) The End of the Pier 

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

THE PUNK PIONEERS WERE MANCHESTER'S NEW WAVE IN '77

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

FUERON PIONEROS DEL PUNK Y LA NEW WAVE DE MANCHESTER EN EL '77

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.



THE DISTRACTIONS - KINDLY LEAVE THE STAGE 

OCCULTATION - LP DELUXE

OUT NOW



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.

9/10

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:


    THE DISTRACTIONS


    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.


    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Heartaches will eventually pass

    Here's a lovely early review of 'Kindly Leave The Stage' from RareBird in the US:

    The Distractions - 'Kindly Leave The Stage' (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!

    'Kindly Leave The Stage' was recorded over the course of three days in September of 2015. It was produced by Nick Halliwell, the head of Occultation Recordings, who also played guitar. The rhythm section consisted of Arash Torabi from Granite Shore on bass, and Ian Henderson from The Puddle on drums.

    'Kindly Leave The Stage' lies in the same basic mellow pop vein as 'The End Of The Pier', but is even more laid back, suggesting that Finney and Perrin had mellowed even further with age during the few years in between. The first two tracks (A Few Miles More and Last To Leave) have just a minimum of adult-alternative vigor. The rest of the tracks have a mostly understated tone, a middle ground between American country music and indie pop. The instrumentation moves at a relaxed and deliberate pace for most of the album. Aside from one striking side trip into baroque pop territory (Wake Up And Kiss Me Goodbye), most of the songs are of a melancholy nature, which has always been The Distractions' forte. But where vocalist Mike Finney once came across like a heartbroken young man, he now seems to sing from the point of view of an older man who has lived and learned, and who now realizes that heartaches will eventually pass. On songs such as The Fire and Nowhere, Finney sounds calmly accepting of the fact that passion fades away over time. The latter song possibly alludes to one of the early Distractions singles, with the lyrics: “I know we used to think that time went by too slow, Now there’s nothing left to do and there’s nowhere left to go”. Finney comes on like a moody Johnny Cash on The Connection’s Dropped Again, whose title sounds like a modern variation on Still It Doesn’t Ring. The overall tone of the album does support the claim that it is meant to be The Distractions' swan song, but it is not an overly emotional goodbye. Rather, it is painted as a sad but expected part of life. When the opening track contains a line like “I haven’t felt like this since Elvis Presley died”, it would suggest that Finney and Perrin certainly do hate to see The Distractions come to its final end, but they seem grateful to have been given the opportunity to issue a proper farewell. True to its title, 'Kindly Leave The Stage' serves as a quiet and graceful exit.

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