New Music Monday: AC/DC, Asia, Michael Jackson, Neil Young, Porcupine Tree, Tenacious D

Give thanks for the new stuff: There are just-released albums by the likes of DouBt, Keith Emerson, King Diamond and Tenacious D to dig into, long before the turkey, dressing and such are close to ready.

Give thanks for concerts. We’ve got new live documents by everyone from AC/DC to Asia, from Porcupine Tree to Sacred Reich.

Give thanks for sprawling reissue projects, and their fascination with both turntable curios and high-end digital remixes: This week will see a new vinyl reissue focusing on Michael Jackson, and a Blu-ray audio release from Neil Young.

We’ve also got a new best-collection from Eva Cassidy, and a Pride and Glory reissue to discuss.

And, finally, give thanks for left turns: That Tenacious D release? It’s … jazz.

No, really …

AC/DC – AC/DC LIVE AT RIVER PLATE (POP/ROCK): I’ve always been of the opinion that live albums and DVDs should be just that — live. I dislike live sets that amount to the studio album set to live footage with some crowd screams overdubbed. I don’t mind a little tinkering here and there, but I want to hear the real live show, warts and all. I want an experience that’s something like the one I’d have if I were in the audience. At times, on Live at River Plate, you get that live experience; at others, though, you may feel like there’s been a little too much doctoring. Still, this captures a solid performance by one of the premier hard rock bands of all time. It’s not appreciably different from other AC/DC live videos released in recent years, but let’s be honest, this is aimed squarely at the band’s hardcore fans. For that, it hits its mark. (More here.) — Fred Phillips

A Perfect DayA Perfect Day (Pop/Rock)

ASIA – RESONANCE [CD/DVD] (POP/ROCK): Musically, the group has lost nothing: Keyboardist Geoff Downes (the Buggles, Yes), guitarist Steve Howe (Yes), drummer Carl Palmer (Emerson Lake and Palmer) and bassist John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, Wishbone Ash) are in top form, recreating — and, in some cases, brilliantly extending — the lithe prog-pop that sent their first pair of early-1980s albums to the top of the charts. As a vocalist, however, Wetton’s instrument has been utterly changed. The difference is, he has gotten better with age. Everything he does here is amazing — those newly twilit corners in his voice, the emotional burr at his quietest moments, the wild sexual abandon of his broadest calls. As a result, the songs on Resonance are different, better, more interesting. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Al MillerIn Between Time (Blues)
BjorkBastards (Pop/Rock)
Chris IsaakLive! Beyond The Sun [DVD] (Pop/Rock)
ColdplayLive 2012 [CD/DVD] (Pop/Rock)
David GarrettMusic (Pop/Rock)

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AC/DC Live at River Plate (2 CDs)ResonanceChris Isaak: Beyond The Sun LiveBastards

DOUBT – MERCY, PITY, PEACE AND LOVE (JAZZ): Perhaps a little less brash than their 2010 debut Never Pet A Burning Dog, album #2 is also tighter, more diverse and taking more chances. douBt distills an astonishingly wide range of influences into an album that’s unpredictable but also one that holds together well. Whether you want to call this prog rock, fusion jazz or whack jazz, Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love can also be called a major step forward in the evolution of a small band with big musical ambition. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Elvis CostelloIn Motion Pictures (Pop/Rock)

EVA CASSIDY – THE BEST OF EVA CASSIDY (POP/ROCK): For completists who already have all of Cassidy’s prior releases, there’s a new treat right at the beginning of this album: the original voice/acoustic guitar take of “You Take My Breath Away, ” composed by Josephine Claire Hamill, has been beefed up by additional instrumentation from her old band mates. As for the rest — even today, more than a decade after discovering her, listening to Cassidy’s music always brings me an unshakable tinge of melancholy that accompanies the joy and wonderment from hearing her unbelievably perfect voice. I guess it’s difficult to separate these recordings from the tragedy of Cassidy never realizing the fame and acclaim she earned but didn’t receive outside her Washington, D.C. environs until after her premature death from melanoma at the young age of thirty-three. — S. Victor Aaron

Gary MooreBlues for Jimi: Live in London (Blues)
Graham Parker and the RumourThree Chords Good (Pop/Rock)
Iron MaidenNumber of the Beast; Piece of Mind (Pop/Rock)

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Mercy, Pity, Peace & LoveIn Motion PicturesThe Best of Eva CassidyThree Chords Good

KEITH EMERSON – THREE FATES PROJECT (POP/ROCK): There is a visceral power in these recordings, as the Keith Emerson Band performs within this orchestral torrent — blending the keyboardist’s long-held passions for rock and classical, finally, in the most complete of ways. Emerson is, of course, best known for infusing elements of Bach, Dvorak, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky into stadium setlists via his association with prog-rock bands like the Nice and Emerson Lake and Palmer — and, appropriately, you’ll find tracks from ELP’s Tarkus, Trilogy and Works. This album, however, moves well outside of those established environs, both in the way that it reimagines sometimes very familiar tunes and also how it incorporates them into a long-form narrative that includes originals from Emerson and guitarist Marc Bonilla. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Kelly ClarksonGreatest Hits-Chapter One (Pop/Rock)
Keyshia ColeWoman to Woman (R&B)
Kid RockRebel Soul (Pop/Rock)

KING DIAMOND – NO PRESENTS FOR CHRISTMAS (POP/ROCK): What better time to re-release this infamous single from the Danish lord of evil. In no time, it will have you (in my best impression of King Diamond’s impression of Bing Crosby) dreaming of a white … sabbath. — Fred Phillips

Led ZeppelinCelebration Day [2-CD Softpak; Blu-Ray Audio; Deluxe Editions] (Pop/Rock)

MICHAEL JACKSON – BAD 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION [180g Vinyl] (POP/ROCK): Jackson fans will undoubtedly want to own this collection, but it also allows casual fans to reassess the album’s place in the music — and Jackson — history. The remastered album presents the material in crystal-clear sound, exposing Siedah Garrett’s previously buried harmonies on “Man in the Mirror” and the hammering beat of “The Way You Make Me Feel.” This version dramatically fleshes out the sterile, flat sound of the original release, breathing new life into very familiar tunes. “Speed Demon’s” twitchy beat, accompanied by Jackson’s raspy vocals, adds impact to the fun track. He proves he can sing ballads well, his sighs and breathy voice enhancing the sensuality of “Liberian Girl.” (More here.) — Kit O’Toole

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Three Fates ProjectNo Presents For ChristmasCelebration Day (Deluxe Edition 2CD, 1 Blu-Ray, 1 DVD (CD sized digipak)Bad 25th Anniversary Edition (180g Vinyl) (3 LP)

NEIL YOUNG AND CRAZY HORSE – PSYCHEDELIC PILL [Blu-ray Audio] (POP/ROCK): He opens with “Driftin’ Back,” a thunderous, nearly half-hour track that equals and, in some cases, surpasses so many of the songs that seek to contextualize the 1960s. I’m not sure anyone has better illustrated the impotent fury that followed for those who worked so hard toward change, only to see it all come to such a thudding conclusion. The album might have ended right there, if Psychedelic Pill were sequenced differently, if it only sought to look back. Instead, Crazy Horse is then granted a chance to do what it does best — to completely rock out, and thus recall every one of its earlier, floor board-rearranging triumphs with Young. In that way, they end up reconstructing the soaring promise, and the boundless joy, of the decade Young started out eulogizing here. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Nicki MinajPink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up (R&B)

PORCUPINE TREE – OCTANE TWISTED: LIVE (POP/ROCK): The 2CD/DVD set was recorded on May 2, 2010 in Chicago, capturing one the shows where the band’s 10th studio project The Incident was presented in its entirety. Octane Twisted’s first disc is comprised of a live take on that recording, culminating with “I Drive the Hearse.” The Incident rose to the Top 30 in both America and England back in 2009. Disc 2 features a cross section of classic Porcupine Tree tracks, including “Hatesong,” “Russia On Ice/The Pills I’m Taking,” “Stars Die,” “Bonnie The Cat,” “Even Less,” “Dislocated Day” and “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here.” Disc 3 is a bonus DVD from the same Chicago performance. Amazon has a November 20, 2012 street date for the set. (More here.)

PRIDE AND GLORY – PRIDE AND GLORY (POP/ROCK) Armoury Records will re-issue this often-overlooked heavy Southern rock gem from Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde and a few other well-known friends. It’s a shame we didn’t get more music out of this project. — Fred Phillips

RihannaUnapologetic (Pop/Rock)

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Psychedelic Pill [Blu-ray Audio]Octane TwistedUnapologetic [Deluxe Edition] [CD/DVD]Pride & Glory (Reis)

SACRED REICH – LIVE AT WACKEN (POP/ROCK): Though the Arizona thrashers have reunited for some shows over the last several years, a new studio album seems unlikely. Fans will have to be satisfied with this set from 2007’s Wacken Open Air Festival. — Fred Phillips

TENACIOUS D – JAZZ (POP/ROCK): As if a great rock album wasn’t enough for this year, now Tenacious D is ready to release its first jazz record. Only on vinyl and featuring a nearly 12-minute “jazz” composition, as only the D could do it. — Fred Phillips

The Blue NileWalk Across the Rooftops; Hats (Pop/Rock)

THE DEVIL – THE DEVIL (POP/ROCK): About time that guy finally threw his hat in the ring and started actually playing some music instead of just inspiring it. — Fred Phillips

The JamThe Gift: 30th Anniversary Edition (Pop/Rock)
The Joy FormidableCholla (Pop/Rock)
The Shannon QuartetA Little Bit Of Heaven: Early Barbershop Quartet Recordings 1925-1928 (Vocals)
Various ArtistsJukebox Mambo: Rumba & Afro-Latin Accented R&B 1949-60 (Blues)
Woe Is MeGenesi[s] (Pop/Rock)

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Live at Wacken Open AirSimply Jazz [+video]GiftGenesi[s]

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