A story of distribution this week. Difficult to know where June Gloom by fatherly connected, trouser shunning power-popstrels The Like is heading, but it's not for the label's want of trying, getting the video onto everything imaginable. Compare and contrast with Jamie T's Betty And The Selfish Sons EP, still being released on his own label despite growing hectares of NME newsprint. We're also leading with these two as we'd like to see Like frontwoman Z Berg marry Jamie T just to see what happens. We have no inclination to wonder about a union between Victoria Bergsman and Thomas Hughes, but their bands have notable singles out too, Bergsman's The Concretes remaining glam-pop with Chosen One, Hughes' Spinto Band remaining Pavement-power-pop on Direct To Helmet.
Hear us out, goddamn you! We've always held a candle for the Bard Of Barking's ability to put his point across straight down the line with true conviction, and like all Bragg snobs we much prefer his writing on the whys and wherefores of love, a view he seems to share when explaining why he called his best of set from a couple of years back Must I Paint You A Picture? Of course his regularly published thoughts on second house reform, or tactical voting, or Ken Livingstone, do little to shrug off that image of Friedrich Engels reincarnated in Joe Strummer's form, nor the busker we recently heard doing To Have And Have Not, so we're going to have to trust those with open ears. A good place to start is Billy Bragg - Box Set Volume 1, seven CDs and two DVDs featuring extended versions of his first four albums, a documentary following Billy to East Berlin, Nicaragua and Lithuania in the 80s and a South Bank Show profile from March 1985. The albums have also been remastered and added to with rarities, B-sides and live cuts - scene-setting mini-album Billy Bragg - Life's A Riot With Spy vs Spy and the Between The Wars EP have been fused together, Brewing Up With Billy Bragg saw him at both his most caustic and lovelorn and drags Johnny Marr in for a version of his band's Back To The Old House, Talking with the Taxman About Poetry nearly made him a proper pop star and socialist anthem collection The Internationale can get wearisome but is here augmented with 1988 live album Live'n'Dubious. He's touring from mid-April too, with Small Faces organist Ian McLagan by his side and Seth Lakeman in support, sponsored by the four major unions and in aid of Love Music Hate Racism and two other anti-fascism organisations. We're going. You might want to too.
There is another set of reissues we can't go any further without hyping to the gills, and that's the Harvest label being reactivated seemingly just to reissue the first three albums by their most outre signees, Wire. That's Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154, and if we get the inclination we may do a proper post that covers the early Wire story in the week. We've got quite a few new releases to be cracking on with, so let's reduce several more years' worth of toil into five or so dismissive words surrounding a link : in alphabetical order we have the indie-prog-folk-Dexys mixer of the Mystery Jets' Making Dens, Neko Case escaping the clutches of the New Pornographers again - her last solo album featured a Festive 50 number one, you know - for more bravura alt-country on Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, Nick Cave, not content with writing the screenplay, drags Warren Ellis along to score the soundtrack to The Proposition - hope it's better than And The Ass Saw The Angel - the Rakes' underwhelming to us but you might go for it more readily Capture/Release gets the inevitable extra track treatment, Nottingham noiseniks Six. By Seven follow some surprise dates, surprise in that they only announced their split last June, with late period offcut compilation Club Sandwich At The Peveril Hotel and Stereolab soldier on in their retro-futurism bubble with Fab Four Suture.