It's June, and we're almost halfway through the year. To say it's been strange so far would be an understatement. However, all the time spent indoors has allowed us at Total Guitar to discover some of the most exciting up-and-coming artists around at the moment. Here, we've condensed our findings into a list of six guitar-heavy names you need to hear right now.
Firstly, we'd like to introduce you to Kid Kapichi, a Hastings, England-based rock band who certainly aren't shy about their love for Fender electric guitars.
We've also got Berklee-trained shredder Nili Brosh, horror-themed heavy metallers Video Nasties, '90s rock-influenced Madre Sun - of which Michael Schenker's son Tyson plays lead guitar - acoustic bluesman Lakota John and finally, grunge trio False Advertising. So prepare to expand your musical mind...
1. Kid Kapichi
Together we just about form one good enough singer and one good enough guitarist,” jokes Kid Kapichi singer/guitarist Ben Beetham, who co-fronts the alternative rock band with singer/ guitarist Jack Wilson.
“I guess I tend to handle the more melodic parts while Jack goes for the more aggressive stuff. Generally, it feels quite natural in terms of who ends up singing what.”
“We come as a package,” nods Jack, in agreement. “Whoever is singing lead normally takes a back seat on the guitar front of that particular song.”
After being playlisted by mainstream radio stations while supporting Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes across Europe last year, the Hastings quartet are gearing up for an even bigger 2020. The two frontmen speak of sell-out tours, a busy festival season and “some very tasty support slots in the crosshairs."
More importantly, their highly anticipated debut full-length will arrive after summer, coinciding with the biggest headline tour of their career, with performances at venues the pair say they’ve always dreamed of playing...
“I use a ’53 reissue Tele for pretty much everything I do,” says Ben, when asked what we can expect to see with him on stage. “And then that goes through a Fender Deluxe Reverb [amp] for that ghostly surf twang. I get my signature tone through using a Visual Sound Double Trouble overdrive as well as a POG2 and MXR graphic EQ. There’s more but that’s as much as I’m willing to give away!”
“Like Ben, I always stick with the same guitar, which is this 1973 Strat I got when I was a kid,” adds Jack. “I’ve never heard another Fender like it; that thing is a total monster! I plug into a Vox AC30 along with an old Big Muff [fuzz] I got for £20 and then add a tonne of Fender Reverb/Tremolo and an Electro-Harmonix delay.”
- For fans of: QOTSA, Royal Blood, Slaves
- Gear: Fender Strat, Fender Telecaster, Vox AC30, Fender Deluxe Reverb
- Kid Kapichi's latest EP Sugar Tax is out now.
2. Nili Brosh
When she was in Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: One show, Las Vegas-based guitarist Nili Brosh was performing 10 times a week in one of the biggest residencies of its kind.
Though she’d played alongside original Shrapnel Records hero Tony MacAlpine, taught where she once studied at Berklee and released three solo albums, that particular entry on her CV is one that she describes as a totally different kind of gig...
“I got to play the Beat It solo while shooting arcs of fire from my guitar, sometimes twice a day,” she laughs, describing the experience as life-changing and other-worldly.
Playing to a high level is one thing that remains consistent in anything Nili puts her mind to, and latest album Spectrum welds her instrumental rock influences and different worlds of sound.
- For fans of: Tony MacAlpine
- Gear: Ibanez RG1527, Peavey JSX
- Nili Brosh's latest album Spectrum is out now.
3. Video Nasties
The link between heavy metal and horror stretches all the way back to when four Brummies stood outside their local cinema and decided to take their blues to devilish extremes. It’s something that Merseyside black ’n’ rollers Video Nasties are embracing with great success...
“I started watching horror films around the same time I was getting into heavy metal,” says guitarist Stu Taylor. “I’m pretty sure that the music and imagery of Iron Maiden had something to do with that. I’ve always loved John Carpenter’s films. He’s a musician in his own right and has scored all his films himself, with an ability to make the viewer feel tense and uneasy without being predictable.
The minimalist approach to his scores is something I’ve taken when writing our album. It’s about creating a feel and not overcomplicating things.”
- For fans of: Entombed, Kvelertak
- Gear: Gordon Smith Graduate 60
- Video Nasties' debut album Dominion is out now via APF Records.
4. Madre Sun
A new London-based band featuring Michael Schenker's son Tyson on lead guitar, Madre Sun successfully fuse the sounds of just about every one of your favorite '90s rock bands into one neat, gain-driven package.
Releasing two songs so far - Trick Up The Sleeve (above) and Black River - this quartet has crafted the sound of a band far their senior, and we can't wait to hear what they deliver next.
- For fans of: Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots
- Gear: Gibson Flying V, Orange AD30, Boss DD3, MXR Micro Amp
- Madre Sun's latest single Trick Up The Sleeve is out now.
5. Lakota John
At only 23 years old, Lakota John boasts a sophisticated and eclectic amalgamation of traditional-style blues and bottleneck slide playing, with a particular affinity for the acoustic guitar.
Having recently been announced for Joe Bonamassa's annual Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea cruise, this highly talented up-and-comer has already made his mark.
John's 2017 debut album displays all the hallmarks of the acoustic blues, with genre-pushing phrases and techniques implemented throughout.
- For fans of: Blind Willie McTell, Reverend Gary Davis
- Gear: Fritz Electro-acoustics, LR Baggs Venue DI, Fulltone OCD
- Lakota John's debut album The Winds of Time is out now.
6. False Advertising
If you're seeking a new band offering a mix of massive riffs and catchy pop-driven hooks, look no further than UK grunge trio False Advertising. Teaming contemporary production values with a Sub Pop songwriting style, they deliver the perfect blend of freshness and nostalgia.
Debut album Brainfreeze is chock full of back-to-back bangers that'll have you vibing from start to finish.
- For fans of: Placebo, Smashing Pumpkins
- Gear: Maton MS T-Byrd, Fender Twin Reverb 1975 Silverface, EHX Green Russian Big Muff
- False Advertising's debut album Brainfreeze is out now via Alcopop! Records.