New Music Monday: Ian Anderson, Stick Men, the Both, Black Sabbath, Jeremy Spencer

Turns out, the old classic-rock dogs Ian Anderson and Jack Bruce know a few new tricks.

Both have intriguing albums out that recall, in some ways, their celebrated earlier work with Jethro Tull and Cream, respectively. But neither, as we hear this week, are bound by those legacies.

The Stick Men offer their first ever live recording, and it’s a smoker. Aimee Mann and Ted Leo have joined forces as the Both — and, as potentially weird as that sounds, it completely works.

Brian Blade and Peter Brendler offer new jazz, while Chuck E. Weiss — yes, the one from the Rickie Lee Jones song — offers a unique take on music that makes clear his connection to Tom Waits.

Jeremy Spencer and Joey Molland, who rose to fame with Fleetwood Mac and Badfinger respectively, each of chance-taking projects out, as well. Spencer has hooked up with some flinty youngsters who’ve pushed him into new creative areas, while Molland took a trip to Memphis to drink in that city’s unique soul flavors.

The reissue stack includes a new box set focusing on the earliest, most influential period in Black Sabbath’s long history, one that features Ozzy Osbourne but — more interesting, at least these days — also jazz-inflected original drummer Bill Ward …

ABBAWaterloo: Deluxe Edition (Pop/Rock)
AC/DCBallbreaker; Stiff Upper Lip (Metal/Rock)
Afghan WhigsDo to the Beast (Pop/Rock)
Bee GeesWarner Bros. Years 1987-1991 (Pop/Rock)
Billy BraggLive at the Union Chapel (Folk)

BLACK SABBATH – COMPLETE ALBUMS BOX 1970-78 (METAL/ROCK): If you were too young to head bang to Ozzy Osbourne’s original stint, but really dug the more recent partial reunion 13, here’s a chance to play catch up. Better still, you can — over the course of eight discs originally issued by Warner Bros. in the 1970s — fully appreciate what the sadly departed Bill Ward brought to Sabbath’s sound. Their first three albums, with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler rounding out the lineup, are required listening — while 1975′s Sabotage is an often-forgotten gem. (More here.) — Fred Phillips

CHUCK E. WEISS – RED BEANS AND WEISS (POP/ROCK): If you’re not familiar with Chuck E. Weiss, the legend: he’s the guy Rickie Lee Jones was singing about. Discovered in Denver and transplanted to L.A., Weiss was a cohort of both Jones and Tom Waits. And what kind of music comes from a guy whose personal and professional resume includes the likes of Dr. John, Willie Dixon, Rickie Lee Jones, and Tom Waits? A big slab of naughty, greasy fun. (More here.) — Mark Saleski

Dead KennedysOriginal Singles Collection (Pop/Rock)
DevoLive at Max’s Kansas City: November 15, 1977 (Pop/Rock)
Dewa BudjanaSurya Namaskar [with Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta] (Jazz)
Elton JohnGoodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniversary Blu-Ray (Pop/Rock)

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Emmylou HarrisCowboy Angels (Country)
Flamin’ GrooviesSupersnazz (Pop/Rock)
Fripp and EnoNo Pussyfooting (Pop/Rock)
Gamma RayEmpire of the Undead (Metal/Rock)
Harry NilssonAerial Ballet; Pandemonium Shadow Show (Pop/Rock)

IAN ANDERSON – HOMO ERRATICUS (PROG/ROCK): When all of the talk about concepts and recurring characters is done, an album like Ian Anderson’s forthcoming Gerald Bostock-themed Homo Erraticus must still have the musical goods — must still hold up on its own. The frenzied, very modern creativity surrounding “Enter the Uninvited” signals that it will. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Ingrid MichaelsonLights Out (Pop/Rock)
Ike and Tina TurnerBest Of (R&B)

JACK BRUCE – SILVER RAILS (POP/ROCK): Jack Bruce’s forthcoming Silver Rails isn’t a long-hoped-for return to his greatness with Cream, a fiery fusion excursion in the manner of his more recent work with Spectrum Road, or something else entirely. It’s actually a little of all of that, as the restless bass-playing singer-songwriter traverses a dizzying array of song styles — some blessedly familiar and some intriguingly new — while bravely facing his third act head on. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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JEREMY SPENCER – COVENTRY BLUE (BLUES): Fleetwood Mac alum Spencer, after a lengthy sabbatical was finally broken with 2006′s more traditionally blues-focused Precious Little, simply sounds reborn. Joining again with a group of younger musicians (they also worked on 2012′s Bend in the Road) has opened up Spencer’s muse, allowing him to build on his embedded blues influences rather than focus on them exclusively. He even returns to his past on tracks like the Mac-era leftover “Open the Door” with a eye toward drawing out new details. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

JOEY MOLLAND – RETURN TO MEMPHIS (POP/ROCK): Joey Molland returns for his first solo album since 2001′s This Way Up, and it’s unlike anything from the guitarist’s seminal power pop work with Badfinger. Tracks like “Walk Out in the Rain,” this album’s opening cut, hail a series of simmering sides on Return to Memphis, recorded in that city’s Royal Studios and produced for Gonzo Media by Stax veteran Carl “Blue” Wise. That positions Molland in a lengthy line of Wise collaborators that includes local legends like Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas and the Bar-Keys, as well as Bruce Springsteen and longtime bandmate Steven Van Zandt, among others. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Linda RonstadtHasten Down the Wind; Living In The USA (Pop/Rock)
Mark HummelThe Hustle Is Really On (Pop/Rock)
Martin Medeski and WoodWoodstock Sessions 2 (Jazz)

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Marty Stuart and his Fabulous SuperlativesThe Gospel Music Of Marty Stuart: Live (Gospel)
Muddy WatersComplete Aristocrat and Chess Singles: 1947 (Blues)
Oak Ridge BoysBoys Night Out (Country)

PETER BRENDLER – OUTSIDE THE LINE (JAZZ): This debut brings forward the same daring and elasticity found in much of Brendler’s session work for the likes of Jon Irabagon and John Abercrombie. That, and some imaginative composing/interpretations to boot. For his first album, the bassist goes without a piano, guitar or any other chordal instrument, creating more space that his bass can occupy. He’s put a tenor sax (Rich Perry) and trumpet (Peter Evans) in front of him and Vinnie Sperrazza’s drums alongside his acoustic bass. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Ray PriceBeauty Is (Country)
RenaissanceSymphony of Light (Prog/Rock)
Rodney CrowellTarpaper Sky (Country)
SevendustTime Travelers and Bonfires (Pop/Rock)
Stanton MooreConversations (Jazz)
Status QuoPiledriver (Pop/Rock)
Steve RoachStructures From Silence: 30th Anniversary Edition (Pop/Rock)

STICK MEN – POWER PLAY (PROG/ROCK): Stick Men’s first-ever concert album finds King Crimson bassist Tony Levin and Co. in their element. No matter the praise heaped upon their latest, and arguably best, studio effort, this is band — like Crimson — best heard live. There’s a sense of unbound freedom, of musical camaraderie, of brilliant timing and gutsy chance taking that can only be truly highlighted, and best enjoyed, when this talented trio begins deconstructing and then reconstructing their work before real people, in real time. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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THE BOTH – THE BOTH [Aimee Mann and Ted Leo] (POP/ROCK): If you were wondering how the perennially circumspect Aimee Mann came to be in a band called the Both with riffy indie-rocker Ted Leo, look no further than the aptly titled debut song “Milwaukee” from their forthcoming eponymous debut. Seems the two connected in, yes, Milwaukee back in November of 2012, when Mann played that city’s Pabst Theater and Leo served as the opener. Something obviously clicked. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

The LettermenThe First Four Albums And More! (Pop/Rock)
Various ArtistsPetty’s Peculiar Picks [Otis Rush, Bobby Blue Bland, Lowell Fulson, Howlin Wolf, Little Richard, Earl King] (Pop/Rock)

WILKO JOHNSON AND ROGER DALTREY – GOING BACK HOME [Vinyl] (BLUES/ROCK): I was not sure what to expect from this collaboration, featuring mostly of songs written by Wilko and all of them featuring Daltrey on vocals. I would not have paired Daltrey and Wilko naturally. However, from the first time the vocals come in over the guitar chords, the listener understands that this was an album which had to happen. If it had never happened, it would have been one of the biggest losses to the industry. (More here.) — Sammy Stein

YesLive at Hemel Hempstead Pavillion, UK: October 3, 1971 (Prog/Rock)
Ziggy MarleyFly Rasta (Reggae)

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