Skip to main content

From ethereal desert ballads to scuzzy '90s power-pop: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Beabadoobee (front) performs with her band
(Image credit: Beabadoobee)

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.

Beabadoobee – Talk

What is it? Everyone’s favorite ’90s-but-now’ revivalist returns with this undeniable anthem – an ode to Tuesday being the best night to go out, apparently – complete with a video that seemingly references Papa Roach’s Last Resort. But don’t let that visual oddity distract you from the neat lead guitar and bass flourishes atop the scuzzy chord work. Expect more from sophomore effort, Talk, due out in July.

Standout guitar moment: The guitar and bass interplay in the song’s middle eight is a highlight, but that chorus progression will tug at your heartstrings while your spirit soars.

For fans of: Smashing Pumpkins, Lush, Clairo

– Michael Astley-Brown

Dream Widow – Encino

What is it? The opening track from Dave Grohl’s much-anticipated metal album, Dream Widow. The album arrives a month after the release of Foo Fighters’ new horror movie, Studio 666, and sees the frontman revisiting the thrash and doom metal influences of his youth. On Encino, he kicks off the album with 20 seconds of drop-tuned thrash, before switching gears to an expansive doom-tinged arrangement.

Standout guitar moment: There’s an absolute plethora of riffs to digest here, but we love that series of double-locking whammy squeals from the 1:08 mark.

For fans of: Slayer, Probot, Corrosion of Conformity

Sam Roche

Soccer Mommy – Shotgun

What is it? The lead single from Sometimes, Forever, the third album from Sophie Allison’s Soccer Mommy project. Produced by Oneohtrix Point Never, Shotgun shows that – even with a broader sonic palette swirling around her – Allison’s songwriting is still sharp as a tack.

Standout guitar moment: Good luck getting that opening riff out of your head – it’s brilliantly simple in an almost Motown-like way. 

For fans of: Snail Mail, Japanese Breakfast, My Bloody Valentine

Jackson Maxwell

Bury Tomorrow – DEATH (Ever Colder)

What is it? Bury Tomorrow’s first new material since the departure of rhythm guitarist and clean vocalist Jason Cameron last year. The band have undergone a notable lineup change since, with Cameron’s duties delegated to two new musicians: Ed Hartwell on rhythm guitar and Tom Prendergast on clean vocals and keyboards. 

While Cameron’s vocals were a defining feature of the UK outfit’s sound, Prendergast sounds right at home, his voice standing up alongside Dani Winter-Bates’ signature growls as the pair trade phrases over a thunderous instrumental section.

Standout guitar moment: There are plenty of crushing palm-muted breakdown riffs throughout – and even some two-handed tapping in the choruses, but that full-throttle opening riff hits with some force, marking the band’s exhilarating return.

For fans of: While She Sleeps, Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside

– Sam Roche

David Knudson – Jealous Time Steals (feat. Jake Snider)

What is it? As far as guitarist/gear relationships go, David Knudson and the Line 6 DL4 are one of the greatest love stories in alt-rock – so much so that we’d conspiratorially wager Line 6 coordinated the launch of the MkII around the announcement of the Minus the Bear trailblazer’s debut solo album. This first excerpt, which features MTB bandmate Jake Snider, shows Knudson’s ear for textural atmospherics and ingenious sonic manipulation transcends collaborative boundaries.

Standout guitar moment: Knudson’s swooping bends, wild reverse swells and glitchy micro-loops are more expansive than ever – and they still send shivers down the spine.

For fans of: Minus the Bear, Botch, mewithoutYou

– Michael Astley-Brown

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Not the One

What is it? This down-tempo number is the third single from Unlimited Love, the first Chili Peppers album with Strat-toting guitar hero John Frusciante since 2006's Stadium Arcadium. Anyone confused about what black magic Frusciante brings to this band can be pointed to this tune.

Standout guitar moment: Frusciante can funk it up, or turn up the ‘drive and shred with the best of them, yes, but he shows his true greatness when making the most out of minimal ingredients. Using two different delays set to different times, a chorus pedal and the volume knob of his Strat, his shimmering, ethereal solo injects surrealism and mystery into what would otherwise be a slightly run-of-the-mill piano ballad.

For fans of: Sublime, Jane’s Addiction, Queens of the Stone Age

Jackson Maxwell

Dance Gavin Dance – Synergy

What is it? A new single from Sacramento six-piece Dance Gavin Dance, and the first to feature fan-favorite guitarist Andrew Wells as an official, full-time member of the band. In typical DGD style, the track juxtaposes heavier hardcore-flavored arrangements with funky intricate electric guitar-laden passages, delivered by founding lead guitarist, Will Swan.

Standout guitar moment: it’s difficult to select a singular standout moment, as Swan expertly weaves lead guitar licks throughout the entire track. So we’ll say the standout guitar moment is the whole damn thing.

For fans of: I Set My Friends on Fire, The Devil Wears Prada

Sam Roche

Dorothy – Black Sheep

What is it? Triumphant hard rock from the Hungarian vocal powerhouse, imbued with the kind of Southern-fried heavyweight riffs bound to appeal to fans of modern juggernauts of the genre like Halestorm and Black Stone Cherry. And with the likes of Phil X, Jason Hook and Trevor Lukather cropping up on forthcoming full-length, Gifts From the Holy Ghost, we could be in for a six-string treat come April 22.

Standout guitar moment: Sure, the arms-aloft chorus brings the singalongs, but it’s those ‘in-between’ riffs that tickle our eardrums: there are some almighty grunge salvos and sweet pentatonic runs between the vocal acrobatics.

For fans of: Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, Black Stone Cherry

– Michael Astley-Brown

Bloc Party – If We Get Caught

What is it? The propulsive fourth single from Alpha Games, the London quartet’s first full-length in six years. Right in the band’s sweet spot between yearning and anxiety, If We Get Caught harkens beautifully back to the band’s mid-oughts glory days.

Standout guitar moment: When Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack are on the same wavelength, they’re tough to beat. The song really kicks into high gear when the duo weave their spiky lines together into an all-encompassing guitar tapestry in the chorus. 

For fans of: Alvvays, We Are Scientists, Doves 

Jackson Maxwell 

The Bobby Lees – Hollywood Junkyard

What is it? The upstate New York proto-punks have signed with Mike Patton’s Ipecac for new EP Hollywood Junkyard, four tracks of deliciously sleazy garage rock ’n’ roll. It’s an old-school adrenaline rush, overrun with jagged guitar work and vocals that recall the spit and vigor of CBGB’s in the ’70s.

Standout guitar moment: Nick Casa’s groaning bends, laced with Dead Kennedys-esque analog delay, are exhilaratingly unhinged.

For fans of: Geese, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stooges

– Michael Astley-Brown

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

With contributions from