Solo track from Depeche Mode's Gahan |


Solo track from Depeche Mode's Gahan

Depeche Mode frontman returns with a song from his second solo CD. Plus: A world premiere track from Hard-Fi, an exclusive from Via Audio, and hot tunes from Devendra Banhart and Wiley

(Dave Gahan: Andy Cotterill/Camera Press/Retna)

Solo track from Depeche Mode’s Gahan

DAVE GAHAN, ”Kingdom”
Depeche Mode’s frontman has spent his entire career singing bandmate Martin Gore’s songs, which might explain why the lead single from Gahan’s second solo album, penned without Gore’s assistance, still sounds almost exactly like a Depeche Mode song. ”Kingdom” once again explores the familiar contrast between cold, nasty industrial squelches and Gahan’s exquisitely velvety pop vocals instead of breaking any new ground. And so what? The formula has stayed fresh throughout Depeche’s decades-long run, and it still works just fine here. (Buy it on iTunes or stream it from Gahan's MySpace)

HARD-FI, ”Tonight”
This English quartet’s 2005 debut was a fine product of the Franz Ferdinand school of pared-down, uptight dance-rock — spiked with just enough huge hooks to suggest that they might have grander ambitions. is giving the world premiere to this song from Hard-Fi’s second album (out Sept. 18), which finds the band taking those hints to their logical conclusion. Rushing strings and a heavily reverbed choir make ”Tonight” a majestic, ever so slightly self-important statement that owes more to Britpop heroes gone by like Oasis and the Verve. ”We ain’t got long,” cries frontman Richard Archer, ”so I need you to believe in me.” We do, Richard, we do! (Stream it from their label’s website in Real or Windows Media format)

DEVENDRA BANHART, ”Tonada Yanomaminista”
The so-called ”freak-folk” genre was never much more than a label invented by critics, but this single might put it to rest for good. There’s plenty of ”freak” on display, but not much folk, as the scene’s sole identifiable star goes ecstatically electric, crowing like a glam-rock peacock over gamboling guitar licks. It’s his catchiest, most fun tune to date — even if that tongue-twisting title preserves a suitable air of mystery. (Buy it on iTunes)

VIA AUDIO, ”Presents”
As one of Spoon’s two principal members, Jim Eno has helped develop the singular combination of organic trad-rock instrumentation and subtle production glitches most recently seen on their excellent album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Eno also found time this year to produce this Boston band’s upcoming debut, saysomethingsaysomethingsaysomething. The trebly synths and drum-machine beats of this catchy track — available exclusively from — show that the similarities between Eno’s two projects end with their stuttering titles. Still, Spoon’s bopping robot pal would have a field day with this one. (Download it exclusively here)

WILEY, ”Letter 2 Dizzee”
Ask an American to name a grime emcee, and most — if they’re aware of the British rap subgenre at all — will pick the justly celebrated Dizzee Rascal. Perhaps the fact that this track is targeted at Dizzee will help turn some new fans on to the high-quality work of his sometime compadre Wiley. It’s tempting to call this ”Letter” a diss track, since that’s how rap dialogues between former friends generally go. But Wiley shows far more sensitivity than you’ll find in comparable U.S. cuts: ”We ain’t in beef,” he offers over chilly chimes, ”so pick up the phone and call me.” Here’s hoping Dizzee takes that advice to heart. From a musical standpoint, at least, only good things could come from these guys reconciling. (Buy it on iTunes)