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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, November 27, 2016

New album

Some of the gentlemen linked to the new Distractions album, Kindly Leave The Stage, have revealed a few teasers on the group's final LP.

Occultation Recordings owner and Distractions songwriter and guitarist, Nick Halliwell revealed that the album was mixed, ready for mastering, with a February release date planned:

Then bassist, Arash Torabi, confirmed that the mastering had taken place (and sounded fantastic):

Just last week, Occultation's newest signing, the legendary John Howard, mentioned in this lovely interview that Nick had played him a few of these great new Distractions tracks:

Elsewhere you may have noticed that HiddenMasters have confirmed the release of the Chris Wood Evening Blue set, which brings Parabolically Yours a little step closer...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Leave you to dream

The Manchester District Music Archive has thrown up yet more fascinating Distractions articles from the City Fun fanzine. Here's the first of a number which deal with the ending of The Distraction Mk I:

Distractions in a dream. (c) City Fun/Manchester District Music Archive.

Leave you to dream

The Distractions have now dismissed their management company. As the band's recent press release states, 'The Distractions have awoken from their rock dream'... 'The Distractions are now self-managing'. The immediate results of this move are a stated intention to gig as much as possible and a single to be released, probably on the Rough Trade label, early next year.

Following the band's departure from Island Records an interesting situation has arisen. Bill Stewart, the A&R man who signed The Distractions and also set up the Grace Jones connection has been sacked. In the meantime the two publicity men, who handled The Distractions while they were on Island, are to continue to work for the band free of charge. If The Distractions mean what they say, their time may yet come.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Simply sensational

As we ready ourselves for news of not one but two new Distractions releases (new album and you-know-what), here's a nice little single review by the one and only Mr Middles. Mick wrote so much about the group back in the day, and in more recent times, and this piece comes from the City Fun fanzine in 1979 (via the fantastic Manchester District Music Archive).

RECORD REVIEWS by Mick Middles

A surprisingly superb batch of Mancunian releases here...


'It Doesn't Bother Me!' (Island).

...this is a dreadful chunk of overrated non-active garbage from one of the most boring pop acts of all time. (Just watch those temperatures rise, ha-ha). Please read on 'cos I'm only jesting. This is, in fact one of the finest pop singles of the past three years. Island have succeeded in transforming an old ruby into a new diamond. A light, hollow sound now replaces the perhaps slightly messy approach of the T.J.M. version. Simply sensational and I can't find a fault. I've never known anyone who dislikes The Distractions and THAT is the reason why they are destined to be our city's most successful band since 10cc. I'm sure of it.

Mick Middles, City Fun, 1979.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nearly Perfect

The news is now out that fans of The Distractions can look forward to two huge releases between now and into 2017. As announced recently, the third and final album, Kindly Leave The Stage, is out next year, while the Parabolically Yours bookset will happen when the stars align.

Here's a nice little preview piece from Fast n Bulbous in a 'Between the Cracks' feature. It rather underplays the contents of Parabolically Yours actually, but then we've already hinted at the incredible amount of material - released, unreleased, live, photos, interviews & more - you can look forward to.

Manchester’s The Distractions formed in 1975 with '60s influences until they were inspired by the Buzzcocks to evolve toward a unique hybrid sound of garage psych, power pop and post-punk. After recording the You’re Not Going Out Dressed Like That EP in 1978, they released the “Time Goes By So Slow” single on Factory records. They had already signed to Island before the single was released, and put out two more singles, “It Doesn’t Bother Me” and “Boys Cry” before releasing Nobody’s Perfect (Island, 1980), a nearly perfect album completely out of fashion and time. Its lack of commercial success lead to the band splitting up in 1981. A box set reissue with the full album and all the singles, Parabolically Yours, will be out sometime early next year on HiddenMasters. The band reunited in 2010 and released The End Of The Pier (Occultation, 2012), and will be releasing a third and final album also next year.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Kindly Leave The Stage

Stephens Doyle and Perrin (right).

Listen here to Steve Perrin's recent appearance on Stephen Doyle's Sonic Diary on Salford City Radio. In this show the first track from the forthcoming third and final album is debuted, and the title of the album is also confirmed as 'Kindly Leave The Stage'. Steve confirms that the slightly delayed 'Parabolically Yours' book set is indeed still happening, and that we might expect it early next year.

Also, while discussing the Nick Halliwell remixes of 'Nobody's Perfect', which may or may not feature in PY, the intriguing prospect of some mono tracks from the debut was also raised! There is much more as well, including some choice Antipodean musical delights chosen by Steve. Next up will be links to Steve's Friday night appearance on Mick Middles' show on FAB Radio International.

Mike Finney and Steve Perrin at the end of the pier, June 2016. (c) Ritchie Finney.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nobody's Perfect on cassette

Don't worry, the very, very long-awaited and overdue reissue of Nobody's Perfect will not be on cassette, nor will it be on LP (not initially anyway), but will of course be on CD and the usual high-quality download formats. But who knew that Nobody's Perfect was actually released on cassette? They NEVER show up on EBay, Discogs, etc. 

But, thanks to @Birmingham_81 at Twitter, we have this proof that The Distractions' debut album was indeed released on cassette in 1980. Keep your eyes peeled for updates from HiddenMasters on the Chris Wood set. Due to matters entirely out of their hands, that set is delayed which has a knock-on for 'Parabolically Yours'. So, you guessed it, you will have to wait just a little longer for this set. It will be well worth the wait...

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A classic of its time

Soon we'll have news of the (first; CD) reissue of Nobody's Perfect as part of the 'Parabolically Yours' book set. To be getting on with, how about a nice review from the one place that 'PY' will definitely not be available from!

  One of Manchester's Finest

By Chulsk - 10 Jan. 2014
Never tire of listening to this album. Faultless "pop" album, oozes musical pleasure. Mike Finney's vocal would see off any X-Factor wannabe with ease; strong, unique & full of expression. The production is of it's day, but the underlying strength of the tracks is undeniable, each one brilliant, all of them varied. The album works as a whole, not a single duff/filler track... a few magnificent stand out songs, I'd let the listener work out for themselves which they are.

I've followed loads of Manchester bands over the years... from the industrial noise & dark poetry of Joy Division to the breezy, inward looking, laugh out loud Smiths and all manner of different Mancunian music. This album is right up there with the very best of them, and yet has been almost criminally overlooked. I believe it will one day be recognised not just one of Manchester's finest, but as a classic of it's time, which stands the test of time.

Sweet pop music doesn't get much better.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dark horses

Not long to go now until definitive news of the 'Parabolically Yours' book set. A cornerstone of this set, will be, of course, the terrific 1980 debut album on Island. 'Nobody's Perfect' (not 'The Distractions'!) was reviewed by Mike Nicholls in Record Mirror on 3rd May 1980, and here's what he had to say (4/5 stars).

THE DISTRACTIONS: 'The Distractions' (Island 1LPS 9604)

LOVE - OR lack of it - is in the air and joining the likes of The Undertones, with songs about girls and more girls, are the irresistible Distractions, a group who only recently have been collecting the pundits they've been worthy of these past three years.

Habituees of their live performances may initially be shaken by the powerful production gloss, but overall there are no worries.

For the uninitiated, The Distractions incorporate a wide range of influences from fifties innocence through classic sixties pop to late seventies experimentalism, but this is no Nick Lowe hack job.

Studio mentors Phil Chapman and John Astley (whose track record includes Clapton, Armatrading and 'Who's Next') have seen to that and blended the ingredients with Cordon Bleu delicacy. Proof of the pudding is in the inspired difference between the two types of songs: The simple yet subtle "pop" tunes and more fully blown production numbers which emphasise what dark horses the band are.

Into the appealing first category go such titles as 'Waiting For Lorraine', a heartfelt affair whose hard luck angle comes with guitars growling in sympathy with Mike Finney's excellent moaning vocals. The lyrics are as succinct as some of those from Pete Shelley, particularly the conclusion which is an absolute killer. 

Another definitive song is the new single, Eden Kane's 'Boys Cry' which seems custom-built for Finney and which rather than being given a too-clever-by-half nouveau treatment, sounds more vintage than ever with Alec's drums high in the Spectorish mix.

'Nothing' is a new, improved version of their 'You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That' oldie but one or two others are below par. The ideas are there but songs like 'Paracetamol Paralysis' and hitherto personal stage fave 'Still It Doesn't Ring' don't go anywhere further than their fine tunes and hooks.

Maybe I'm expecting too much, or just plain spoilt by some of the more realised hi-tech epics like 'Sick And Tired'. Opening with a synthesiser motif lifted straight from Kraftwerk, The Distractions metamorphosise into a different band with tears substituted by anger.

'Stuck In A Fantasy' features more good guitar from the boys, Perrin and Wright, but the twin pieces de resistance are 'Leave You To Dream' and 'Looking For A Ghost'. With Finney at his most note-perfect and some gently rising keyboards and Platters-style harmonies, both are near blueprints for what sophisticated pop music should be all about: direct, classy and with undeniable quality that makes it memorable yet unpredictable. The Distractions are stalking up to that goal and have the potential to define the post-teen pulse. A confident first album, not flawless, but fab nonetheless.

+  +  +  +  


(c) Mike Nicholls, Record Mirror, 1980.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Parabolically nearly Yours

Over on the essential Super Deluxe Edition, the Chris Wood 'Evening Blue' piece has generated plenty of interest. Not least also from Distractions fans who have been wondering about 'Parabolically Yours'. Well, Neil Storey from HiddenMasters stepped in and has let a few titbits slip...

Some good news for you – The Distractions' 'Parabolically Yours' is next! There was a brief-lived plan in November last that we’d try to issue both that and The Chris Wood book set around about the same time but, it just became way too complicated – so that got knocked that on the head. Just too bonkers to try and do both together. 

The Distractions book set is planned now for mid-October. Book element more or less done, the music yet to be mastered. And, like there is with Chris’s, there are a few more surprises in there than people are probably expecting!

The Distractions book set will be a slimmer volume [than the 200+ page Chris Wood book], book size is approx 96pp – still vinyl sized like all HiddenMasters editions are... and we’re aiming for it be around the £65 mark. Don’t hold me to that, that's the plan.

So, it's fair to say that after a false start last time, the 'Parabolically Yours' set will soon be reality. And, it will be something of similar quality, comprehensiveness and size to the wonderful Jess Roden Anthology and the forthcoming Chris Wood book set. Roll on October, but well before then, pre-ordering via Digital Stores, book set content and track listings will be announced. For the latest, check back here, on HiddenMasters, on Facebook and on Twitter.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Next up...

The big news from HiddenMasters is that their latest project is coming to fruition, which means next up is the slightly-longer-than-anticipated Distractions 'Parabolically Yours' set (as you know, time goes by rather slowly).

You can get a feel of the general quality of book-set that you can look forward to with this preview of the Chris Wood 'Evening Blue' set. Pre-ordering for this set starts tomorrow (10th February) and the set is launched on 24th June in collaboration with Caroline International.

Hidden Masters presents… Chris Wood – Evening Blue – 200+ page hardback book-set + 180 gsm vinyl + 4 CDs. – First release in new worldwide distribution deal with Caroline International. 

Pre-ordering news

Chris Wood page at HiddenMasters

Chris Wood Facebook


Monday, January 18, 2016

Appealing Distractions

Here's a nice little review of The Distractions at Rock Garden in London, that we've just come across. Keep an eye out on here for big news soon of not only of the forthcoming third Distractions album which was recorded last year. but also of the rather eagerly-awaited 'Parabolically Yours' definitive set...



Rock Garden, London

IF YOU'VE always had a soft spot for the Flamin' Groovies but got miffed 'cos they hardly ever tour, then transfer that affection for The Distractions forthwith.

They've been chugging along for about three years now and despite occasional outbursts of good press, still have to resort to playing tarted up fall-out shelters whenever this end of the M1. It would be OK if the house PA wasn't so shit, but then tolerating the appalling noise that characterised the first few minutes is part of the appeal of The Distractions.

Like The Grooves, they always manage to shamble through the set in the end, finishing at a peak which makes earlier grievances quite forgettable.

Guitarist Adrian Wright might have more hair than Cyril Jordan, but his mirrored shades are a great sop to stagemanship, even if the latter is mainly monopolised by Mike Finney. 

Dressed in a white summer jacket and black shoes, he still looks like one of the more unlikely vocalists around, but his voice and presence are a unique part of the band's personality. With t'other guitarist, Steve Perrin, he writes most of the songs, the majority of which are familiar to these ears and sound better all the time.

'Paracetamol Paralysis' is dedicated to one of the Island Press officers who is out "watching The Jags", while 'Waiting For Lorraine' was one of about six tunes that would make ideal chart material.


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