This week's essential guitar tracks: from the biggest rock band on Earth to Nuno Bettencourt's favorite solo

(Image credit: Press)

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…

Rockin’1000 ft. Chris Robertson – How We Roll

Remember that time 1,000 musicians assembled to perform Learn to Fly to convince Foo Fighters to play a show in Italy? Well, after their successful efforts, the ‘biggest rock band on Earth’ have gone on to play stadium tours, and now they’re dropping their first original single, featuring Black Stone Cherry frontman Chris Robertson. For practical reasons, only 100 musicians appear on the recording, but the resultant track, How We Roll, is a fuzzy feelgood anthem of the highest order. (MAB)

Extreme – Other Side of the Rainbow

Nuno’s favorite solo from the new album, Six, is another scorcher, albeit in a much more major key fashion. Meanwhile, if you pine for the days of MTV: when teens rebelled, rock bands topped the charts and all you needed to have fun was a vintage car in suspiciously mint condition and a swirling aerial shot of your guitar solo, Extreme has your back with this clip. (MP)

Elegant Weapons – Horns For a Halo

Superhuman Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner has done our job for us on this one, describing his metal supergroup’s latest effort as “like Tony Iommi crossed with Alice In Chains” – a comparison that’s, well, dead-on. But he’s far too modest to shout about the frankly jaw-dropping solos, which are technical and melodic in equal measure. (MAB)

Foo Fighters – The Teacher

10 minutes of good ol’ fashioned Foo Fighter fun with the usual dose of glassy electric guitars and swelling instrumentation that peaks with an epic conclusion. Need we say more? (MO)

Queens of the Stone Age – Carnavoyeur

Now 25 years into their career, Queens of the Stone Age don’t need to write songs with names like Burn the Witch to unsettle you – they can just make their guitars sound like a funhouse mirror nightmare, as they do here. From the diabolical fuzz bass to the flanged-out wash of the chorus, Carnavoyeur is a masterclass in using effects as paintbrushes – and the end result is creepy as hell. (JM)

Thrown – Guilt

A metalcore monster, Guilt is a masterclass in muting and pitch-shifted precision riffage, with a heap of mechanical false drops in the opening moments that eventually give away to some gargantuan riffs, before it weaves frantically in and out of thrash-y breakdowns. (MP)

Yussef Dayes – Rust (feat. Tom Misch)

A belatedly released track that soul master Tom Misch and drum virtuoso Yussef Dayes first recorded back in 2020 while piecing together their collaborative jam album, What Kinda Music? Dayes’ drums are exquisite, and those octave-dropped grooves, harmonic rings and improvised flourishes are just quintessential Misch. A new album from him is needed, and fast. (MO)

Lektron – Dirty Jacks

Matt Skiba has moved on from his tenure in Blink-182 by assembling an all-new punk-rock supergroup, featuring Atom Willard (Rocket From The Crypt, Against Me!) on drums, Hunter Burgan (AFI) on bass, and Randy Moore (Spiritworld, Dan Andriano & The Bygones) on lead guitar. It’s certainly a darker, edgier sound than Skiba’s recent efforts, flashing a metal edge on its punk powerchord workout. (MAB)

Code Orange – Grooming My Replacement

Anyone who thought Code Orange had gone too far down the production rabbit hole will have their mouths well and truly shut by the stomach-churning display of raw riff power on this hardcore rager, made all the more terrifying by Reba Meyers’ knack for chilling guitar sound design. (MAB)

Blake Mills – Skeleton Is Walking

Ever a master arranger, Blake Mills contrasts the stately beauty of the first couple minutes of Skeleton Is Walking – the lead single from his newly-announced Jelly Road album – with a fritzed-out three-minute solo that uses the song’s melody as a launchpad into the cosmos, from which it never returns. (JM)

KennyHoopla – You Needed a Hit

A minimalist ode to modern day punk rock that will satiate your weekly appetite for no-nonsense progressions, memorable licks and guitar action that will have you tapping your foot and bobbing your head. Palm mute central. (MO)

Grrrl Gang – Spunky!

“I’ll never shave my pits, never swallow your spit” is one of those lines that sticks in your mind. The Indonesian indie-punks have a knack for that both lyrically and, er, guitaristically – as such, Spunky! bounces along in a way that channels its angry motivations into something far more positive. (MP)

ONI feat. Jared Dines – Silence in a Room of Lies

Jared Dines is no stranger to guest solos, having appeared in his fair share of epic shred collaborations, but this grinding drop-tuned banger from Canadian prog-metallers ONI finds him lending his writing and tapping talents. The resultant collaboration is explosive and a worthy showcase for the YouTube star’s lead chops. (MAB)

Sylosis – Poison for the Lost

Josh Middleton recently departed Architects to focus on Sylosis – a band he formed almost two decades ago – meaning the British metal band’s upcoming album is set to be more symbolic than usual. Poison for the Lost sets the scene for A Sign of Things to Come in electrifying fashion, culminating in a guitar solo at the 2:30 mark that will leave you breathless. (MO)

Speedy Ortiz – You S02

Speedy Ortiz return with new album Rabbit this fall. The album’s second single You SO2 is about time in LA and it bathes in an appropriate mix of saccharine, sweet vocals and wiry, unsettlingly discordant guitar lines. (MP)

The Wrong Sides – Sour Sea

Puerto Rican virtuoso Israel Romero deploys every trick in his arsenal on this five-minute prog-metal tour de force, foregrounded by some dazzling runs on his FM Guitars Esphera and satisfyingly syncopated Quad Cortex-enabled chugs. (MAB)

King Falcon – Ready Set Go

Sometimes, there really is no need to overcomplicate things. King Falcon’s new single, Ready Set Go, is a prime example of how effective building a song around some humble distorted guitars can be. You know exactly what you’re getting here: a ruddy good two-and-a-half-minute rock romp. (MO)

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.