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Depeche Mode

It'll take more than a sprained knee and a "low-grade malignant tumor" to keep Depeche Mode from spreading its time-tested brand of brooding synthpop across America this summer. Consider the band's many personal tribulations: lead singer Dave Gahan's heroin addiction, lead songwriter Martin Gore's seizures, and lead wallflower Andy Fletcher's bouts of neurosis, not to mention a decade of artistic frustration, culminating in the famously lackluster Exciter LP (2001). For a moment there, it had looked as though the Essex trio might not survive the 20th Century. Then Gahan got clean and the band released Playing the Angel (2005), featuring two career-reviving singles in the spookily lush "Precious" and the Grammy-nominated disco anthem "Suffer Well." Supporting their latest disc, Sounds of the Universe, Gahan and company appear fully reconditioned. Their new electro-roots sound fully kicks ass, and their current tour — dubbed Tour of the Universe — is their most ambitious yet, covering four continents and taking them everywhere from Peru to Tel Aviv. The wild card here is Gahan's penchant for untimely sickness and injury, which forced DM to cancel ten dates at the beginning of the tour and two more in July. Note to Dave: Eat your apples.

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Craig Outhier

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