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25 December, 2010

Merry Christmas from everyone at Occultation Recordings

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all from all of us here at Occultation Recordings. 2010's been a pretty amazing year but 2011's all set to be even more extraordinary.

02 December, 2010

Factory Star / Stone Tumbling Stream

Here's a live video of an earlier Factory Star line-up performing Stone Tumbling Stream, to whet your appetites...

Factory Star

Occultation Recordings are utterly thrilled to announce that the latest addition to our growing roster is Manchester's Factory Star, led by Martin Bramah, founder member of The Fall and the Blue Orchids. They'll be recording their debut single for Occultation for release early in 2011.

01 December, 2010

Distractions review in The Quietus


There's a lengthy piece on the two Distractions Occultation EPs which has just been published today (1/12/10) on The Quietus website. It's by Mick Middles, who even forgives "the rather awkward fact that at least two members of this band ran off with a wife of mine". I love that "at least", he's clearly not sure but that it mightn't be MORE than two.

25 November, 2010

The Distractions - Lost video


Here's the video for Lost from The Distractions' Come Home 12" EP. It was filmed by bassist Nick Garside during the recording of the EP in Liverpool back in June (2010). More information to follow.

We've also uploaded the video to a page on the website which will probably offer higher quality. Click here to view.

11 November, 2010

Come Home...

Just a note to say that we've now posted all advance orders of The Distractions' Come Home 12" EP. All new orders will now be shipping more or less immediately, as soon as we can get to a post office, in any case.
Thanks to everyone who's already ordered and we hope you'll be as thrilled with this one as we are. It really is pretty stunning.

09 November, 2010

The Distractions have Come Home

This morning we took delivery of the vinyl 12"s of the new Distractions Come Home EP. They really are rather stunning, the sleeves are in lovely thick card, with a beautiful UV spot-varnish finish on the front, making the Albert Square shot on the front stand out from the grey of the sky. The vinyl is also superb and this really is the way to hear these three songs, at the highest resolution, mastered from a 24-bit/96KHz source. We hope to start posting out the first advance orders tomorrow (Wednesday 10/11/10) and to have shipped all copies ordered to date before the weekend. This is the first ever Occultation 12" but it won't be the last...

04 November, 2010

Come Home Soon

We've heard from the pressing plant that, due to the UV spot-varnishing of the sleeves (the picture above shows the parts which are being varnished), and the drying time the process requires, the Distractions Come Home 12"s will be very slightly delayed. We'd expected to have had them by this week and to be posting out the first advance orders around now, but we've been promised we'll have them next week and obviously we'll start posting as soon as we get them as we do have the limited promo CDs that are available to purchase with them already - we really are just waiting for the boxes of 12"s to arrive and then out they'll go as quickly as humanly possible. Thanks to everyone who's already ordered and for your patience - you should all have received a link to a zip file containing the three MP3 files plus the etc PDF.
We'll be posting news about the first reviews and airplay soon. Apologies for this but I expect the plant got a big order for the new Cliff Christmas single or something...

29 October, 2010

The Distractions Come Home - Orders now being taken

We are now accepting orders for the Distractions Come Home 12" EP and we expect to have the vinyl next week (i.e. the first week of November). There's information on the release on the main Come Home page, previews of all three tracks are available here and you can place your orders in the Occultation Shop. We've made various improvements to the ordering system lately, some you'll notice, some you may not, but it should now be cheaper to purchase multiple items as we've found a way of doing this.
YMIR7DA008 is also the first Occultation release to come with something extra, a collaboration between ourselves and the Your Heart Out and Unpopular websites called etc, we'll leave you to discover what it's all about as each of our zips of MP3 files (free for all vinyl and promo/special edition orders) comes with one of these absolutely free. We're not going to say too much about this project just yet, but there will be more to come.
More on this to follow soon.

18 October, 2010

We've now got the promo CDs for the Distractions Come Home EP. The 12"s should reach us over the next couple of weeks or so. We'll start taking orders fairly soon.

08 October, 2010

Distractions Come Home previews

We've just uploaded streaming previews of the forthcoming Distractions Come Home 12" EP, due in early November, click here to go to the preview page. The 12" single will come in a special UV spot-varnished sleeve and once again the vinyl version was mastered from the highest resolution 24-bit/96KHz recordings so it really should sound pretty special. We'll start taking orders as soon as we get a delivery date from the plant - we always feel awkward taking people's money when we don't know how long it'll be before we can post things out. As on previous occasions, we'll be offering a "deluxe" version of the release, comprising the 12" single plus a promo CD - as always with Occultation the CDs are professionally replicated (not CD-Rs!) and come in vinyl-replica style wallets and they'll be specially priced. There'll also be packages available allowing you to buy this one together with earlier Occultation releases you might have missed - we'll have a number of set options in the Shop but, as always, if you're after a combination that's not there just drop us a line and we'll see what price we can offer you - at the very least we can keep the P&P costs down when you buy more than one item at a time. More on this story to come soon, but have a listen to the previews, we're really very, very proud of this one...

06 October, 2010

Sign up

We've finally got around to setting things up so you can sign up to our mailing list on the site. Click here if you'd like to do that now...

We don't abuse this by sending out constant streams of messages, generally only when we've got a new release or something else is happening and always relating to the label or our artists.

We're expecting to have the Distractions' Come Home 12" EP in stock by the beginning of November - we'll start taking advance orders (with the usual free MP3s delivered as soon as your order goes through, generally within a minute or two) as soon as the pressing plant give us an actual delivery date.

24 September, 2010

The Distractions Come Home

In early November Occultation Recordings will be releasing the first new Distractions recordings since the mid-1990s. YMIR7DA008, the Come Home 12" EP, was recorded in Liverpool in June 2010, engineered by Richard Turvey of The Wild Swans and featuring a band comprising original Distractions, vocalist Mike Finney and guitarist/main songwriter Steve Perrin, plus another former Distraction in the shape of Nick Garside, who played bass in the mid-1990s incarnation plus guitar and backing vocals contributed by Nick Halliwell from label-mates The Granite Shore, with Stuart Mann on drums.

The EP comprises two new Steve Perrin songs, Lost and Nicole, plus long-time fan Halliwell's Oil Painting and will come on 12" vinyl in a UV gloss-varnished sleeve to the usual Occultation standards and, as with the current Black Velvet EP, it features photographs taken specially for this series of Distractions releases by Mark Cooper. More news and previews will follow over the next few weeks and then we'd hope to start taking orders shortly before the records arrive from the pressing plant, probably towards the end of October.

04 September, 2010

Black Velvet review on Your Heart Out

There's an excellent piece on the Distractions' Black Velvet EP on the Your Heart Out blog here. There have been a number of other articles and mentions starting to appear across the Internet over the last few days but this is our favourite so far (of the ones we've seen, if anyone out there has spotted anything we might've missed, please e-mail us).

26 August, 2010

Black Velvet promos

We've just taken delivery (a few minutes ago) of the Distractions' Black Velvet promo CDs. Advance orders will start shipping later today (Thursday 26/8) or tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who has supported us by pre-ordering.

N.B. [Thursday evening] We have posted out the first batch of Distractions promos to the people who placed the earliest orders and we should have the rest in the post tomorrow and/or Saturday.

Further N.B. [Saturday morning] All advance orders for the Black Velvet EP have now been posted out. Please note that Monday (30/8) is a Bank Holiday in the UK - we tried to get as many of the international orders as possible out on Thursday afternoon, so that hopefully they'll've left the UK before the holiday. Anyway, thanks again to everyone who's already ordered and if you haven't then orders placed over the weekend will go out either today (Saturday) or Tuesday.

20 August, 2010

The Distractions - Black Velvet EP - Orders being taken now


Just a note to say that we're now accepting orders for the promo CD version of The Distractions' Black Velvet EP - or you can buy the digital version if you prefer. There's also a special offer on the promo versions of this together with The Granite Shore's Flood of fortune.
We expect to have the promo CDs next week sometime but if you order now you'll get a link to free MP3s sent out pretty much instantly.

19 August, 2010

Distractions Audio Preview

We've just uploaded audio of the three tracks on the forthcoming Distractions EP. "Black Velvet", "Still It Doesn't Ring" and "If You Were Mine". We will shortly start taking orders for the limited promo CDs (which, as always, will come with free MP3s delivered immediately) and the digital EP. Watch this space...

15 August, 2010

Wild Swans Album Preview

The Wild Swans have sent us a couple of rough mixes of tracks from their forthcoming album The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years, which we hope to release in early 2011. Underwater has been heard on Janice Long's BBC Radio 2 radio show on a couple of occasions but the other, with the working title of Falling To Bits is making its debut here.

You can listen to the two tracks by clicking here and then on the titles on the preview page.

We should stress that these are work-in-progress mixes, not the finished article, but they do give a very good idea of what an astonishing record this is shaping up to be.

18 July, 2010

Black Velvet

It is with enormous pleasure that Occultation Recordings would like to welcome Manchester's most unsung heroes, The Distractions. The band's first release for us will be the Black Velvet EP. This will be a digital download only but, as with other Occultation releases, we will be pressing a limited number of promo CDs and those of you who prefer to own a physical copy will have the chance to purchase these highly collectible items from us. The EP features three tracks recorded back in the mid 1990s by original core members Mike Finney (vocals) and Steve Perrin (guitar), with Nick Garside on bass and Bernard van den Berg (drums).

All tracks have been freshly restored, remixed and mastered by Nick Garside and sound simply stunning. Previews will appear on this website over the next few weeks and we'll start taking orders for the promo CDs once we have a definite date for their delivery.
If that weren't enough - and frankly it's not - this EP will be followed by a new Distractions release, recorded in Liverpool in June 2010, again featuring Messrs Finney, Perrin and Garside, this time working with Nick Halliwell from fellow Occultation artists The Granite Shore, aided and abetted by Richard Turvey of The Wild Swans - who also engineered the session - on keyboards and drummer Stuart Mann. We hope to release this on 12" vinyl around early November. The final part of the initial triptych of Distraction will be an archive album entitled Nothing. Precise content is still being finalised but we plan to include the band's first two singles, including both sides of the classic Factory (FAC12) Time Goes By So Slow / Pillow Fight '45 plus more of the mid-1990s material.

We'd like to draw your attention to the band's excellent website and there's also a Facebook page here. More details to follow.

05 July, 2010

Video for "Flood of fortune" - The Granite Shore



We'd like to thank Phil Wilson for producing this video for the new Granite Shore single, Flood of fortune, on which he also played.

20 June, 2010

Occultation inserts

We've noticed that the new Occultation inserts which come free with initial copies of The Granite Shore's Flood of fortune 7" are proving extremely popular, indeed, scans of them are starting to appear on a number of websites. There a couple of variations but everyone who's ordered the 7" from us so far should've had at least one. In response to a number of enquiries, the insert was designed by Elena Milego and the photo on the front is taken from a 1947 copy of Penguin Music Magazine which has some wonderful information on the record-making process, much of it still relevant today. The back of the insert shows the Occultation catalogue to date, from The Wild Swans' English Electric Lightning 10" through to our next release, which will be The Distractions' Black Velvet EP. We do take enormous care over every aspect of our releases, and it's been very gratifying to find that so many people seem to appreciate this.

Speaking of The Distractions, they were in the studio in Liverpool last week, at work on new recordings for us. The session was engineered by Richard Turvey of The Wild Swans, who also played piano and organ and featured founder Distractions Mike Finney (vocals) and Steve Perrin (guitar, vocals, tambourine), another former member Nick Garside (bass), Nick Halliwell of The Granite Shore (guitar, vocals) keeping up the Occultation connection, plus Stuart Mann (drums). We're absolutely thrilled to welcome The Distractions to Occultation and look forward to a number of releases by the most unjustly unheralded of Manchester groups. There will be the aforementioned Black Velvet digital EP to kick things off (that's currently being finalised, shouldn't be too much longer now), then an album entitled Nothing comprising their 1978 TJM 12" EP and 1979 Factory single plus the legendary 1995 recordings. Then there'll be a new single taken from the June 2010 Liverpool sessions - format to be determined.

11 June, 2010

Latest releases now shipping


Just a note to let you know that all advance orders for our two latest releases, The Granite Shore's Flood of fortune and Jonathan Beckett's She's A Vampire EP have now been posted and are on their way to you - if you've not already received them. Initial copies of Flood of fortune come with a special Occultation insert.

Next up will be The Distractions' Black Velvet EP, followed by an album entitled Nothing, featuring their first two singles plus the legendary 1995 recordings, and there will also be a new Distractions record to follow, work on recording that begins next week.

09 June, 2010

She's A Vampire promos

We received the promo CDs for Jonathan Beckett's She's A Vampire digital EP on Monday and began posting out initial orders immediately. The digital EP itself will be released worldwide on 30th June 2010, though the promo CDs will be available only from us and at Mr Beckett's live performances - and only while the very limited stocks last. All advance orders for both this and the new Granite Shore single have now been posted so thanks to everyone who did order. And if you've not yet done so then the Shop is just over here.

04 June, 2010

The Flood is upon us...

We've just taken delivery of The Granite Shore's Flood of fortune 7" (RHEA7DA006) and we'll be starting to process orders over the weekend. They sound absolutely fantastic - the vinyl version was actually mastered from a 96KHz version of the track so this isn't just vinyl snobbery, there's a good scientific reason why it sounds better. We already have the Flood promos so these will start to go out very soon - we should also have the promos of IO7DA005, Jonathan Beckett's She's A Vampire EP over the next few days.

01 June, 2010

Flood of fortune promos

The promo CDs of the new Granite Shore single arrived this morning, and very nice they are too. Here's a photo, with one of the incredibly rare promos for the first single (only a few were pressed) for comparison. We're expecting to receive the vinyl very soon and the Jonathan Beckett promos hopefully won't be far behind.

29 May, 2010

The Granite Shore - Flood of fortune 7" - advance orders


We are now taking advance orders for RHEA7DA006, the new Granite Shore single, Flood of fortune. We expect to have the records in stock within the next fortnight (hopefully next week actually...) As with our previous 7", we will have a limited number of promo CDs available to purchase with the vinyl version at a special price.

There are three basic options for buying the single. You can order the 7" on its own, order it together with a promo CD or purchase it together with one or more of our previous singles.

1) vinyl only
2) vinyl + promo CD
3) as a package with previous Occultation releases

Our new Shop system appears to be working and all links are sent out by e-mail automatically pretty much immediately. If you do run into any problems just drop us a line and we'll sort them out as quickly as we can, but so far we've had no trouble at all.

22 May, 2010

Introducing... Mr Jonathan Beckett

Occultation Recordings are proud to announce that Jonathan Beckett's She's A Vampire EP will be released worldwide as a digital download on 30th June 2010. The EP is available from the Occultation Shop now and we are also accepting advance orders for the very limited promo CD version.

If you pre-order the promo CD you'll receive the MP3 version immediately either as a link in your browser, in an e-mail or both, via our spanking brand-new automated delivery system and then your CD will be posted out as soon as we get them, which we expect to be early June. Please don't buy both the download AND the promo as there's no need, all physical sales come with free MP3s.

We have tested the new automated delivery but it's early days, so if you come across any problems with it please drop us a line. At present payment via PayPal appears to be working perfectly and links are shown both in your browser (you should see a link saying "IMPORTANT: please click here to download your files" or something similar on the page that appears after you've paid) and in an e-mail sent to you as soon as the payment goes through. Payment via Nochex IS working, but at present only the e-mail seems to be going out, we haven't got the link in browsers working yet. If you don't receive your e-mail please check your spam folders first and then e-mail us if you still can't find it.

Jonathan will be interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham's The Beat programme tonight. The programme airs between 6 and 10 p.m. although we don't know exactly what time Mr Beckett will be appearing.

I think that's everything. There are plenty more Occultation releases on the way: we'll be taking orders for the new Granite Shore single in a week or two.

21 May, 2010

Opening the bonnet...

We will shortly be going live with the new version of the Occultation shop. It looks fairly similar but there are some big changes under the bonnet. For a start, you should now receive links to MP3s of the tracks you've purchased (whether you've bought them as MP3s or whether they're free with your vinyl purchase) pretty much immediately, as we've now set up an automatic delivery system.

Hopefully this'll all work like a dream, but if it doesn't please bear with us. We will be monitoring it closely so if you have any problems just drop us a line.

We have found some issues when people pay with Nochex - for some reason the links may not be immediately displayed in your browser. Even so, you should receive these links by e-mail fairly shortly after paying, and we'll be trying to iron this little difficulty out over the next few days.

The first new Occultation release with the new system will be IO7DA005D, which is Jonathan Beckett's She's A Vampire EP, we hope to go live with that later this evening, or if not then by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

Thanks for your patience, but once this is all set up and properly tested it should improve things for all of us... No more sending out individual links manually for me and no more waiting for you... As a very wise man (Errol Brown actually) once almost put it "Everyone's a winner baby". And that's no lie.

20 May, 2010

Under the bonnet at the Occultation Shop

Just a word of warning... As we've got a number of new releases coming up and the Occultation is growing rapidly, we're trying to set up a new Shop system so that links to MP3s (for both MP3 and physical purchases) can be sent out immediately and automatically. We started off doing this manually and that was fine to start with but it's starting to get a bit complicated and taking up a lot of time, so we felt we should invest in setting something up to do the work for us. We've purchased a system that should help with this and give you your MP3s within minutes even if it's 3 a.m. in the UK when you purchase but please bear with us over the next few days as we set all this up and test it. I'll post more info on this as we go.

Thanks for bearing with us and rest assured that whatever happens if you pay for something you will get it. If you have any problems just drop us a line.

15 May, 2010

Interview with Paul Simpson

The excellent Swedish website Throw Me Away has just published an interview with Wild Swans leader Paul Simpson. It's in Swedish but you can always use Google or another automated translation service to get a flavour - not to mention some rather amusing pieces of computerese; though we must stress that this is down to the shortcomings of automatic translation software not the quality of the writing which looks to be top class and shines through some of the rather gnomic utterances spat out by the software - I'm particularly fond of the last paragraph about No Bleeding, which reveals that: "In "No bleeding" is heard only the echo of the champagne glass bowl that was during the party. The piano player for those who have never been awarded any promises, just because they never had any - not even a single - to give in return. For those who are stuck where they were born. It is for them - not for me - like The Wild Swans there." I've written at length about The Wild Swans but I don't think I've ever managed anything as insightful as that. Again, I really, really must stress that this is what you get when machines attempt to translate human language, and especially when that language is well-written and on the poetic side; machines are much better at translating texts about machines...

Anyway, the website itself is highly recommended, they did a piece on the label late last year which you can still read here (again, in Swedish or with comedy software translation).

14 May, 2010

Wild Swans on Janice Long show on BBC Radio 2

Last night (13/5/10) The Wild Swans performed a live acoustic session on Janice Long's radio show on BBC Radio 2. Janice is a long-time supporter of the band and her enthusiasm was palpable.

Those of you in the UK can still hear the show (for a week) on the BBC iPlayer. A stripped-down band performed acoustic versions of the recent single Liquid Mercury, a track from the forthcoming album called My Town and the title track of their first Sire album Bringing Home The Ashes and Janice chatted with Paul - the two are old friends, of course as the DJ is a native of Liverpool herself.

Janice has also recently been playing Underwater, another track from The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years.

25 April, 2010

Paul Simpson: Man In A Burning Anorak Vols. 1 and 2


Just a note to let you know that if you head over to The Wild Swans' own website you can purchase two download-only collections of recordings by Paul Simpson.

Man In A Burning Anorak Vol. 1 This was originally available a few years back and comprises studio recordings, demos and curios from various stages of Mr Simpson's storied career.

Man In A Burning Anorak Vol. 2 This is the long-lost, never-completed and certainly never-before-released Paul Simpson solo album, originally entitled The Wickedest Man In The World (whence the track which became the Wild Swans 'b' side of that name), recording at Henry Priestman's Gossamer Dome studio on Anglesey in late summer 2004 with former Wild Swan Ged Quinn on keyboards and Nick Halliwell of The Granite Shore on guitar. Although never completed this is one of those rare cases of a "great lost album" that's actually worth the wait/its weight in gold dust.

Albums are available for a very reasonable £4.99 each, all proceeds will go towards completing the Wild Swans album (and we're reliably informed that it's in the final furlong now...)

03 April, 2010

Forthcoming releases

Over the last few months things may have seemed quiet but I can assure you that behind the scenes it's been anything but. We have a number of projects now approaching fruition so here's a little preview:

IO7DA005 - Jonathan Beckett: She's A Vampire digital EP
This will be a digital download-only EP, three songs, led off by the stunning title track, which really is one hell of a song. Paul Simpson brought Jonathan to our attention because the second song on the EP, 1989, references The Wild Swans. The EP is completed by Between Two Worlds. Full release will be in June but we'll be pre-releasing it via the Occultation shop in May.

RHEA7DA006 - The Granite Shore: Flood of fortune 7" vinyl single
Following on from their debut, Tomorrow morning, 3 a.m., which we released last year, this one is also vast albeit in a very different way. It's a huge, huge pop record, 3 minutes and 40 seconds of grandeur, featuring full (real) string and brass sections and a lyric full of marvels. Release: early June.

[Catalogue no. TBC] - The Distractions: Black Velvet digital EP
Another digital EP, this time from one of Manchester's greatest pop groups. You'll know their classic Factory single Time Goes By So Slow and we hope to be releasing a compilation featuring that and their other earlier recordings later in the year. In the meantime we're putting out 3 tracks recorded by a reformed version of the band featuring both singer Mike Finney (one of THE great pop voices) and guitarist/songwriter Steve Perrin from 1995. Many fans who've heard it feel that lead track Black Velvet is among the finest work they ever recorded and the EP will also feature a new version of Still It Doesn't Ring, which appeared on their 1980 album Nobody's Perfect, plus If You Were Mine, featuring a truly astonishing vocal performance by Mr Finney. Release: summer 2010.

Although the formats are strictly as stated above, there is a possibility that we may have a limited quantity of promo CDs of one or more of these releases and, as we know that some of you like these, we'll try to make some available, keep an eye on the website for details.

Before you ask, work on the Wild Swans album continues apace - you would not believe the amount of work that's going into this. Some snippets of rough mixes from a couple of songs have been posted on the band's MySpace page just to keep you going. We'll be gearing up to release this classic the moment Mr Simpson can be persuaded that his work is done. It's going to be well worth the wait, from what we've heard of it so far.

There are a number of other projects in the pipeline but we'll let you know about those as and when... More details will follow over the next few weeks.

06 February, 2010

For One Stormy Night Only... Live Wild Swans tracks


Anyone looking for a souvenir - although surely nobody who was there can need much reminding - of The Wild Swans' triumphant return to the stage in 2009 should head over to the band's own website where five tracks recorded at Static Gallery on 11th December last year can be downloaded for £4.99. All proceeds will go towards completing the forthcoming album, to be released on Occultation as soon as it's done.

Click
here to go to the For One Stormy Night Only page on Wild Swans' shop.

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