New Music Monday: John Oates, Gus G., Dukes of September, Matthew Shipp, Twisted Sister

John Oates issues a career-defining, endlessly diverse trio of EPs, while Matthew Shipp — one of our last truly original improvisers at the piano — returns with an invigorating new trio recording.

John McLaughlin offers a sizzling live set, and (in something that recalls some of his best earlier recordings) the guitarist has found a worthy foil in Etienne Mbappe. Meanwhile, a threesome of often-overlooked Twisted Sister projects sees reissue.

Gus G., perhaps tired of waiting around for his boss Ozzy Osbourne, has issued an album of his own, while the Dukes of September (featuring Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald) haul out a nearly never-ending string of hits — and seem to have a complete blast doing it.

Elsewhere, we have more piping-hot jazz from the likes of Brad Mehldau, Matija Dedic’ and Sam Boshnack; some mind-bending blues fusion from Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi All-Stars fame; and heavy-rocking goodness from the Pretty Reckless …

Barry WhiteCan’t Get Enough (R&B)
Black LipsUnderneath the Rainbow (Pop/Rock)

BRAD MEHLDAU AND MARK GUILIANA – MEHLIANA: TAMING THE DRAGON (JAZZ): There’s a sense that Mehldau has finally found a space where he can challenge himself — having so firmly established his own voice, his own style, even his own tics, in straight-ahead circles. Within Guiliana’s taut, propulsive cadences, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon uncovers the humor in his playing again, the impish creativity — successfully dynamiting, along the way, what had typically become a why-so-serious demeanor. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

CarcassSurgical Steel Decibel Tour (Rock/Metal)
CrampsFlamejob (Pop/Rock)
Crimson ProjeKCtLive in Tokyo (Prog/Rock)
Deep PurpleStockholm 1970 (Pop/Rock)
DethklokMetalocalypse – the Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera (Pop/Rock)
Eliza GilkysonThe Nocturne Diaries (Pop/Rock)
Elmore JamesUltimate Collection (Blues)
Elvis PresleyElvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis: Legacy Edition (Pop/Rock)
Eric ClaptonBehind The Sun (Pop/Rock)

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Foster the PeopleSupermodel (Pop/Rock)
FunkadelicOne Nation Under a Groove (R&B)
George MichaelSymphonica (Pop/Rock)
Groove ArmadaNorthern Star: 15th Anniversary (Pop/Rock)

GUS G. – I AM THE FIRE (ROCK/METAL): With Ozzy focusing on Black Sabbath and no current plans for a follow-up to Firewind’s 2012 record Few Against Many, guitarist Gus G. turns his attention to a solo record with a bevy of special guests and mixed results. — Fred Phillips

Harry NilssonAerial Ballet; Pandemonium Shadow Show (Pop/Rock)
Jerry Garcia and David GrismanJerry Garcia and David Grisman (Pop/Rock)
Jo Dee MessinaMe (Country)
John ColtraneDakar (Jazz)

JOHN McLAUGHLIN AND THE FOURTH DIMENSION – THE BOSTON RECORD (JAZZ): Included is a new version of the oft-sampled “You Know, You Know,” from Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1971 debut The Inner Mounting Flame. That’s almost worth the price of admission alone. But check out the way Etienne Mbappe gives the sensuous journey on “Abbaji” its pulsing blood, its lusty fire. Drummer Billy Cobham or saxophonist John Surman positioned themselves as similar foils previously, creating a fizzy tension that is ultimately released through one of McLaughlin’s tornadic solo excursions. Same here. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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JOHN OATES – GOOD ROAD TO FOLLOW (ROOTS/POP): Oates started this project as a series of stand-alone singles, only deciding later to collect them across three genre-specific discs — the first devoted to rock and pop, the second with a country-focused feel and the third powered along by rootsy blues-soaked numbers. Along the way, Oates both illustrates what he brought to that Hall of Fame duo and then breaks apart every stereotype that ever grew up around them. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Johnny Guitar WatsonGangster of Love Meets the Superman Lover: Best of (Blues)
John ZornFragmentations Prayers and Interpretations (Jazz)
KansasSong for America (Prog/Rock)
Lake Street DiveBad Self Portraits (Pop/Rock)

LUTHER DICKINSON – ROCK ‘N’ ROLL BLUES (BLUES/ROCK): You might have expected the solo music from Luther Dickinson — he of the blues-bending North Mississippi All-Stars, and also the son of Deep South producing legend Jim Dickinson — would have a rootsy feel. You would be wrong. Like most kids, the younger Dickinson tweaked his old man with youthful tastes that ran toward the punky sounds of that searing 1980s-era LA punk band Black Flag — and those early influences are found in high relief on this surprising solo effort. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

MATIJA DEDIC – SENTIANA [with Antonio Sanchez and Scott Colley] (JAZZ): This classically trained, Croatian born pianist certainly wears his Euro-classical heritage on his sleeve, and why not? Putting that heritage together with a potent American rhythm section can be an exciting collision of Old World jazz with New World jazz. And so it is with Sentiana, Dedic’s third and latest album, featuring Yankee bassist Scott Colley and Pat Metheny’s prime drummer from Mexico City, Antonio Sanchez. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

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MATTHEW SHIPP TRIO – ROOT OF THINGS (JAZZ): There are thoughtful pianists who play from the brain and passionate pianists who play from the heart. Matthew Shipp’s distinction has been that he’s always been a thoughtful pianist who plays from the heart. Shipp is one of the last truly original piano improvisers; no one since him can match his depth without sounding too much like someone else. Like prior Matthew Shipp Trio recordings, Root of Things extends those unique qualities to a three-man unit. Also like those prior releases, they find new ways of standing apart. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Paul ButterfieldEast-West (Blues/Rock)
Rod StewartTonight’s The Night: Live 1976-1998 (Pop/Rock)
Ronnie MilsapSummer Number 17 (Country)
RushSpirit of the Airwaves (Pop/Rock)

SAM BOSHNACK QUINTET – EXPLODING SYNDROME (JAZZ): Boshnack not only handed out a tall order to Beth Fleenor (clarinet, bass clarinet), Dawn Clement (piano, Wurlitzer, other keyboards), Isaac Castillo (upright bass) and Max Wood (drums, percussion) in interpreting her finely-tuned scores, but these guys and gals never played together before so they had to gel in a hurry. Maybe that was just Boshnack’s way of creating sparks, and if the resultant Exploding Syndrome debut album is any indication, it was a clever tactic. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

SaxonThe Complete Studio Album Collection 1979-1988 (Rock/Metal)

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THE DUKES OF SEPTEMBER – LIVE AT LINCOLN CENTER [Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs] (POP/ROCK): Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs brought a tractor-trailer’s worth of hits — both as solo artists and with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, respectively — to this setlist. More important, however, was their simpatico sense of musical camaraderie. Whether it be Fagen tossing off a fizzy little piano flourish to “Miss Sun,” or Scaggs carefully working the secondary guitar riff for “Reelin’ in the Years,” they perform not as perfunctory sidemen but as fully engaged friends. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

THE PRETTY RECKLESS – GOING TO HELL (ROCK/METAL): I’ve only heard the title track from this record, but I look forward to the rest of it. That tune is a good old-fashioned hard rocker with plenty of attitude. — Fred Phillips

TWISTED SISTER – YOU CAN’T STOP ROCK ‘N’ ROLL; COME OUT AND PLAY; LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS (ROCK/METAL): Three often overlooked Twisted Sister records get a re-release in this three-disc set. I have a very soft spot for Come Out and Play, cheesy “Leader of the Pack” cover and all. It’s perhaps a bit more commercial than their previous releases, but there are some good tunes. You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll is solid, and perhaps a little more street tough than the famous follow-up Stay Hungry. Love is for Suckers is, by and large, forgotten for a reason, but even it has a couple of cool tunes. — Fred Phillips

UFOThe Complete Studio Album Collection 1975-1985 (Pop/Rock)
Velvet UndergroundLive at the Boston Tea Party: December 12th 1968 (Pop/Rock)
Waylon JenningsRight for the Time: Remembered (Country)

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