Cheap Trick Preps 'The Latest'

Cheap Trick is stepping outside of the label world to release its next studio album, "The Latest," itself.

The veteran rock group will start taking pre-orders for the 13-track set, which it recorded during the past year mostly in Los Angeles with producer Julian Raymond, on Friday via its official web site, www.cheaptrick.com, and at Amazon.com. Those who pre-order will receive "The Latest" on June 23, the day Cheap Trick starts it summer tour with Def Leppard and Poison in Camden, N.J. Amazon will have exclusive rights for one month, and the album will also be available in limited LP and 8-track editions.

Dave Frey of Red Light Management tells Billboard.com that via Amazon and other database information, anyone who's purchased Cheap Trick music, merchandise or concert tickets in the recent past will be notified about the album. Those buying tickets for the tour will also be able to purchase "The Latest" at a slight discount.

"We just want to sell it over time and not have it be all about making a big impact in the first few weeks," Frey says. "We've got a lot going on with online marketing direct to people who have bought Cheap Trick things. We want to try to do as much direct to consumer activity as possible and do everything we can to remove anything that's in the way of the band reaching the fans directly."

"The Latest" is certainly an album likely to curry favor with the Cheap Trick faithful, filled with anthemic power pop tunes such as "Miss Tomorrow," "California Girl," "Alive" and a cover of Slade's "When the Lights Are Out," Beatlesque songs like "Miracle," "Everybody Knows" and "Times of Our Lives," and the power ballads "These Days," "Closer..." and "Smile." "We wanted to make a record that sounded like 2009, get something that sounds like us this year," drummer Bun E. Carlos explains.

Guitarist Rick Nielsen adds that, "I think it seems like we kinda grew up but didn't too old, 'cause musically there's a lot of different aspects to it. When you hear something like ('Sick Man of Europe'), you think, 'This can't be the same guys.' It sounds too energized for what people expect from somebody who's been around as long as we have...But musically I think it sounds like we grew up a bit."

Besides "The Latest," Cheap Trick has also recorded a version of the "Transformers" theme for the "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" soundtrack, which also comes out June 23.