This week's essential guitar tracks: Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton's final collaboration is revealed, and psychedelic titans channel their inner thrash demons

Joey Walker (left) and Stu Mackenzie perform onstage with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard at Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas on October 28, 2022
(Image credit: Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Hello, and welcome to a new Spotify playlist-embiggened Essential Guitar Tracks. As you may well know, every seven days (or thereabouts), we endeavor to bring you a selection of songs from across the guitar universe, all with one thing in common: our favorite instrument plays a starring role.

Our goal is to give you an overview of the biggest tracks, our editor’s picks and anything you may have missed. We’re pushing horizons and taking you out of your comfort zone – because, as guitarists, that’s something we should all be striving for in our playing. 

So, here are our highlights from the past seven days… now with a Spotify playlist (scroll to the bottom for the latest additions)!

Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck – Moon River

Thought to be one of the late Beck’s final studio recordings, this new take on the crooning classic lets his guitar do the talking. Perhaps it’s simply the context of Beck’s passing, but the guitarist’s signature whammy-riding Strat tone really tugs the heartstrings here. Indeed, even Clapton wisely keeps out of the way for the first minute and a half… (MP)

Nita Strauss – The Golden Trail

The latest single from the Ibanez signature shredder’s upcoming album, The Call of The Void, which marries Strauss’s scintillating riff work with the visceral vocals of In Flames frontman Anders Fridén. (MO)

Joe Bonamassa – I Want To Shout About It

The blues guitar king channels his soulful side on this Stratocaster, horns 'n' organ-powered new single. Of course, though, Bonamassa allows himself some fun – impressing with a celebratory solo and limber, fiery fills that demonstrate his impeccable phrasing and sense of timing. (JM)

RVG – Common Ground

The Melbourne indie-punks' new track was born from a “deep depression” and absolutely wears its heart on its sleeve. There’s a moody, melodic starkness that evokes Echo And The Bunnymen, drenched in a level of cavernous reverb that appropriately reflects the depths from whence it came. (MP)

Red Devil Vortex – More Luck Than Brains

Reverse tapping pioneer Luis Kalil returns with his band for one of 2023’s most explosive guitar tracks yet, tipping his hat to the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Buckethead, and more with a fretboard masterclass of the highest order. (MO)

Blur – The Narcissist

The Narcissist – the lead single from Blur's first new LP in eight years, The Ballad of Darren – finds guitarist Graham Coxon doing what he's done impeccably for over 30 years now, serving Damon Albarn's affecting narratives with supple fretwork highlighted by his deft melodic touch and propulsive, memorable, and just-a-little-jagged riffs. (JM)

Bully – Change Your Mind

Alicia Bognanno’s grunge-y new cut is blessed with the sort of fat, fuzzy bassline that is so enveloping you want to fashion it into chunky knitwear. Admittedly, we’ve not yet figured out how to translate audio waveforms directly into trendy knit designs but we’re pretty sure that’s an Etsy goldmine waiting to happen. (MP)

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gila Monster

King Gizzard turns metal?! That’s certainly the vibe we’re getting with Gila Monster, what with its Metallica-esque riffs, hypnotic guitar solos, and no-nonsense arrangement that launches a full throttle high gain assault. This next King Gizzard album – the band’s second incursion into thrash, following 2019’s Infest The Rats’ Nest – could be very interesting indeed. (MO)

R.L. Boyce – Coal Black Mattie

Mississippi native and blues veteran R.L. Boyce is one of the many artists featured on the upcoming Dan Auerbach-produced Easy Eye Sound compilation, Tell Everybody! (21st Century Juke Joint Blues From Easy Eye Sound). With a hypnotic boogie riff and fire-and-brimstone slide work, Coal Black Mattie is a perfect adrenaline shot of pure, proper, old-school blues guitar. (JM)

Yusuf / Cat Stevens – All Nights, All Days

King of a Land, the forthcoming album from songwriting legend Yusuf / Cat Stevens, has been previewed with All Nights, All Days – a delightful display of electric and acoustic interplay that uses an upbeat vibe to serve up slinky riffs and chord work. (MO)

Creeping Death – The Common Breed

The Texan death-metallers are gathering a reputation as a tonal force majeure –responding with overwhelming crunch, darkness and a grooving pace that suggests they’ve got a few hardcore records stashed under the bed. (MP)

Dudu Tassa & Jonny Greenwood (feat. Nour Freteikh) – Taq ou Dub

Fans of Jonny Greenwood's recent guitar work with The Smile will find plenty to like in Taq ou Dub, the hypnotic new track from Jarak Qaribak, his upcoming full-length with Israeli musician Dudu Tassa. There are no made-for-120 Minutes alt-rock-guitar-hero moments here, but the spidery arpeggios Greenwood weaves throughout this spirited version of the Lebanese folk song are quintessentially his. (JM)

Foo Fighters – Under You

Foo Fighters returned with Rescued last month for their first new material since the passing of Taylor Hawkins, and the emotional core in their new music remains in strength in Under You – another anthem that channels raw human emotion through high gain guitars and heartfelt lyrics. (MO)

NewDad – In My Head

Grizzly oversized hooks and irresistible indie guitar action is the order of business for Irish rock band NewDad, whose In My Head delivers delicate lead work and a pummeling progression that’ll knock the wind out of you. (MO)

Gregory Alan Isakov – The Fall

There's a lot to peel back in this, the stately lead single from Isakov's new effort, Appaloosa Bones, but we're big fans of how its electric and acoustic parts weave themselves seamlessly into the track's beautiful, hypnotic fabric. (JM)

Wallice – Loser at Best 

After three years of singles and EPs, Wallice is finally gearing up for her debut studio album – and judging by Loser at Best, her commitment to angsty guitars will be front and center in that offering: it’s gnarly and noisy in all the right ways, and dripping in a stage-ready attitude. (MO)

Mandy, Indiana – Drag [Crashed]

The cathartic, industrially-abrasive rally against misogyny your Friday was thus far missing. It comes from an experimental four piece in Manchester, UK and, if you’re wondering, ‘Where’s the guitar?’ It’s that thing that sounds like a whale eating a freight train. (MP)

Liam Fender – Time Comes Around

An accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right, Liam Fender – brother of Seventeen Going Under sensation Sam – has given listeners another insight into his own independent sonic universe via Time Comes Around, which is heavy on the heavenly guitars and equally heavy on the luscious instrumentation. (MO) 

Julie Byrne – The Greater Wings

Summer Glass – the lead single from Julie Byrne's forthcoming album, The Greater Wings – was powered by lush, synth-driven arrangements, but the LP's recently-released title track is built upon brilliant, multi-dimensional acoustic fingerpicking. It's a musical backdrop that will be warmly familiar to anyone who's been following the singer/songwriter's career for some time, and the perfect introduction to her for those who haven't. (JM)

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.