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Next Week in Music | Dec. 5-11 • The Short List: 3 Titles You Want to Hear

Cheap Trick, Nina Hagen & Kevn Kinney prove good things really do come in threes.


Good things really do come in threes. They do next week, anyway. See for yourself:


Cheap Trick
Live at The Whisky 1977

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “You wanna hear a band about to explode? In June 1977, Cheap Trick were in Los Angeles to record their second album In Color. To get the band in shape for the record, they booked five gigs at the Whisky a Go Go the weekend of June 3. The result: a series of fire-breathing shows that you can still hear reverberating on the Sunset Strip to this day. KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer introduced the band at the shows, and his memories are clear: “The Whisky was packed for every show. A lot of girls showed up. It was like the ‘new’ Beatles had arrived.” Indeed, this concert stand takes its place alongside The Doors in 1966, Led Zeppelin in 1969 and Van Halen in 1977 as among the most notorious shows hosted by the venerable venue. As drummer Bun E. Carlos puts it, “The Whisky shows capture a hungry band. It’s right before we went on tour with KISS and became much more famous than we were at this point. It was two nights where we did all our cool stuff from our first couple of records and it’s chock full of goodies.” This four-CD set contains all four shows in their entirety (well over half completely unreleased), complete with often hilarious on-stage patter from guitarist Rick Nielsen.”

Nina Hagen

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nina Hagen, the most beautiful and strident hell-raiser to toe the line between punk and pop, East and West and outta space that Germany has ever produced is finally back. Unity is her first album since Volksbeat in 2011. The time was more than ripe.  The 12 songs on Unity take us on a wild journey through a densely woven musical jungle full of chirruping, buzzing and chittering. Country twang sung over spacey synth grooves and rock pop playing over dub and sexy slow funk. Some songs tell of biblical miracles, others are feisty political tirades, and then there are covers: A country classic, a Sheryl Crow hit and even a Bob Dylan song with German lyrics (“Die antwort heißt ganz allein der wind”) — really something that only a larger-than-life songstress can dare to do. Unity plays with a multifaceted mélange of textures, samples and everyday sounds. Amidst this rich foliage of sounds and themes there is, of course, that voice; in the wink of an eye it transitions from operatic to demonic, hitting insane high notes then plummeting to awe-inspiring deep bellows, as if she is trying to interfuse the sexes. Nina Hagen screams and hisses, belts out lyrics and performs recitatives, rasps and reverberates in electronic distortions. She launches into musical dialogues and soliloquys. It is as if her voice is echoing into our time from another world.”

Kevn Kinney
Think About It

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Think About It is Drivin N Cryin frontman Kevn Kinney’s first solo record in more than a decade. Featuring R.E.M. co-founders Peter Buck and Bill Berry, as well as Brad Morgan of Drive-ByTruckers, Laur Joamets (Drivin N Cryin, Midland, Sturgill Simpson) and more, the star-studded Think About It has its roots in the introspective solitude of the pandemic, and also the passing of Kinney’s old friend, the iconic oddball musical / improvisational genius and lighting-rod philosopher Col. Bruce Hampton. “When Col. Bruce died (in 2017), I had the idea of taking a different approach, having all these different styles of musicians play with me — something, in the spirit of Bruce, that was a little more out there,” Kinney says. “I really loved his bass player Kevin Scott and his drummer Darren Stanley, who are these really accomplished jazz guys. So I had them in mind, and I also really wanted to go into the studio with David Barbe again, who I’d worked with back in 2004 on a project called Sun Tangled Angel Revival, and who had been an engineer on MacDougal Blues. The idea was to do something a little more spoken word, singing in a lower register than usual for some of it, and using words to paint these picturesque landscapes. I didn’t want to fill in all the spaces; I wanted to have a lot more air for things to grow from.”