From cowboy licks to all-star speaker-smashing remixes: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Whitney Petty performs with Thunderpussy at The Showbox in Seattle, Washington on April 15, 2022
(Image credit: Mat Hayward/Getty Images)

Welcome to Guitar World’s weekly roundup of the musical highlights from the, erm, world of guitar. 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.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Pretty Boy (Robert Smith Remix)

What is it? A reimagined version of Noel Gallagher’s late-2022 single Pretty Boy, which has been masterminded by The Cure’s Robert Smith with the help of his bandmate and drummer Jason Cooper. Swapping electronic drums for Cooper’s “vibey drum track” – Smith’s words, not ours – The Cure frontman gives Pretty Boy a new lease on life, putting greater emphasis on the anthemic acoustic guitar strums, electric guitar embellishments and Gallagher’s now-delay-tinged vocals. 

Because of this arrangement, there’s also additional room for another new addition to proceedings: a noisy, gain-dripped guitar solo that turns Pretty Boy into a fully fledged rock speaker smasher.

Standout guitar moment: Smith’s treatment of the track makes it a totally new beast, but the drastic direction he takes things in is typified by that biting solo at the 2:50 mark, which packs a helluva punch going into the track’s closing stages.

For fans of: The Cure, Oasis, The Amazons

– Matt Owen

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Egoland

What is it? The Mexican duo have spent several decades exploring the depths of metal, classic rock and classical guitar styles, but their forthcoming album In Between Thoughts… A New World has a baked-in mission to stretch their musical horizons. Egoland does this in several ways, taking us through pacey wah-laden funk rhythms into barrelling Sergio Leone spaghetti western soundtracks.

Standout guitar moment: Rodrigo Sanchez’s lead section forms the centerpiece of the track. It smartly wrangles the cowboy licks into blues-y double stops and back into wickedly fast funk stabs in a way that leaves you struggling to spot the joins.

For fans of: Sergio Leone, Cory Wong

 Matt Parker

Eric Bibb – Ridin'

What is it? A tribute to the Freedom Riders of 1961, who traveled to the American South from cities in the north to protest segregation – meeting violence from locals, police and the Ku Klux Klan along the way – Ridin' reflects on the tragedies and injustices of the past, with a cautiously hopeful eye toward the present and the future.

Standout guitar moment: Bibb’s acoustic fingerpicking drives the song powerfully, and provides the perfect backdrop to Ola Gustafsson’s fiery slide work, which magnificently evokes the passion of the Freedom Riders, the righteousness of their fight and their cause, and the evil of those who stood in their way.

For fans of: Robert Johnson, Son House, Eric Gales

Jackson Maxwell

Svalbard – Eternal Spirits

What is it? We’re a teensy bit late on this one, but Svalbard’s black-metal-meets-post-hardcore beatdowns on this new standalone single are unmissable. The blizzards of tremolo picking are anchored by meaty chugs and an anthemic edge that highlights the Nuclear Blast band’s sharpening of their metal blade.

Standout guitar moment: Yeah, it’s gonna be that triplet breakdown. Of course it is.

For fans of: Rolo Tomassi, Heriot, Isis

– Michael Astley-Brown

Rose City Band – Slow Burn

What is it? Formed around Wooden Shjips/ Moon Duo man Ripley Johnson and pedal steel player Barry Walker, Rose City Band’s latest single is a slide-laden slice of country psych taken from forthcoming album Garden Party. It’s warm, airy and will relax your shoulders following three months of winter hunching. 

Standout guitar moment: Walker clearly delights in threading in and out of Johnson’s earthy acoustic. In a fit of musical nominative determinism, the effect is sort of like a rambling rose, winding it’s way in and out of Johnson’s oak-y branches. Not to be outdone, Johnson also offers some killer roughed-up lead licks in his own wistful, countrified solo section.

For fans of: Moon Duo, Wilco

 Matt Parker

Beach Fossils – Don't Fade Away

What is it? It’s been six long years since Beach Fossils graced us with their last LP, Somersault, but now, the ever-underrated New York indie quartet are back with a new album, Bunny. Don't Fade Away is its lead single, and treats the hazy, modulated textures the band are known for to a lusher, more fully-realized arrangement.

Standout guitar moment: The single-note line that descends elegantly over the dreamy arpeggios in the song’s choruses has us absolutely swooning – spellbinding stuff.

For fans of: R.E.M., The Smiths, The Clientele

Jackson Maxwell

Thunderpussy – Firebreather

What is it? Seattle’s Thunderpussy dropped their latest single on International Women’s Day, and it’s a proper fist-pumping anthem of the classic rock persuasion. With its stop-start guitar stabs and drum breaks, it recalls a certain flaming-hot jam by one James Marshall Hendrix, and that chorus is an absolute wailer – as is Whitney Petty’s guitar solo.

Standout guitar moment: Speaking of, that solo starts out so behind the beat that the track starts to trip out into psychedelic territory, but by the time the double-tracking comes in, you’ll find yourself humming along with gusto – always the mark of a good lead.

For fans of: Deap Vally, Emily Wolfe, Blues Pills

– Michael Astley-Brown

Skating Polly – Hickey King

What is it? Oklahoman step-siblings Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse return with a buoyant and mosh-y ode to the misguided romantic habits of weirdly possessive indie rock dudes. 

It’s the first taster of their sixth album, Chaos Country Line (due June 23) – an ambitious 18-track collection that they’ve labelled their most honest and experimental record yet. Meanwhile, the video has an excellent From Dusk Til Dawn in a rock club sub-plot that ticks the requisite 90s boxes.

Standout guitar moment: There’s a few, but ultimately it’s got to be the false ending at about 2.40. Songwriters of the world: more false endings, please. Three in one song is not too many.

For fans of: The Coathangers, Veruca Salt

– Matt Parker

The Lathums – Facets

What is it? As far as debut albums go, The Lathums’ 2021 LP How Beautiful Life Can Be wasn’t half bad. In fact, the 12-track effort made such a stir, it reached top spot on the UK Album Chart. Now, the English indie rock outfit are gunning for a second number one record in a row with their sophomore album, From Nothing to a Little Bit More – and, if we’re being honest, we’ll be surprised if they don’t pull it off. 

The whole record is worthy of such an accolade, but individual shoutout must go to Facet, with its upbeat arpeggio hook, irresistible groove and a buzzsaw-like solo that takes the already-ridiculously-high energy level straight through the roof.

Standout guitar moment: Facet doesn’t take its foot off the gas for the entirety of its relatively speedy two-and-a-half-minute runtime, but The Lathums somehow find an extra ounce of energy with a blistering, fuzzed-up guitar solo at the 1:40 mark.

For fans of: Inhaler, The Snuts, DMA’s

– Matt Owen

Bartees Strange – Daily News

What is it? Last year, Farm to Table – particularly lead single Heavy Heart – bolstered Bartees Strange’s reputation as one of indie-rock’s brightest talents, but this outtake from the vinyl version of that album sees him make his mark on the post-rock world, too. Daily News is as blockbuster as Strange gets, full of ethereal guitar textures that build to a densely layered outro that rivals anything from instrumental titans such as Caspian or This Will Destroy You. But with saxophone.

Standout guitar moment: Those pitch-shifted licks in the mellow choruses are beautifully phrased and eloquently toned.

For fans of: Radiohead, Caspian, This Will Destroy You

– Michael Astley-Brown

Jonathan Bree – Miss You (feat. Nile Rodgers and Princess Chelsea)

What is it? A new collaborative single from Jonathan Bree, Princess Chelsea and funk maestro Nile Rodgers, which has been released under the former’s name. If you need tightly knit single-coil funk strums in this day and age, there are a few names that spring to mind, but Rodgers seems to stand just a few inches above everyone else. 

That’s exactly what you get here: uber-clean funk strums and even a hypnotically woven guitar solo that sees the Stratocaster master briefly branch out into the world of lead guitar for a handful of bars at the 2:00 mark.

Standout guitar moment: Rodgers’ rhythm powers are near-legendary, but it's his lead contributions that really stand out here, both for that previously mentioned guitar solo and the tasteful octave motifs that bring the track to a cose.

For fans of: The Brunettes, The Nudie Suits

– Matt Owen

Cafuné – Perspective

What is it? A snappy new standalone single from the NYC-based duo. Cafuné’s sprightly pop gem, Tek It, became a TikTok sensation last year, and the propulsive Perspective will show first-time listeners the qualities that made the internet fall in love with this band.

Standout guitar moment: Beautiful six-string textures abound on this tune, but that catchy, evocative opening riff will hook you right in from the get-go. 

For fans of: Death Cab for Cutie, Paramore, Broken Social Scene

Jackson Maxwell

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.