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From infectious pop-country to cyberpunk prog-metal: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Lindsay Ell performs at DTE Energy Music Theater in support of "Beers On Me" tour on October 07, 2021 in Clarkston, Michigan.
(Image credit: Scott Legato/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.

Wilco – Falling Apart (Right Now) 

What is it? The new country-leaning track from alt rock heavyweights Wilco – and the lead effort from upcoming LP, Cruel Country – which is carried by resident guitar stars Nels Cline and Jeff Tweedy’s snappy bend-laden licks and twangy rhythmic progressions. The album is set to be a deep dive into all things country – as well as a conceptual narrative of the US – and, if Falling Apart (Right Now) is anything to go by, it will also contain a boatload of knockout guitar moments.

Standout guitar moment: For the final 40 seconds, Wilco give the spotlight to the lead guitar, which brings proceedings to close via a dazzling concoction of rumbly rockabilly rhythms, phaser-tinged leads and B-Bender-esque bends.

For fans of: Vince Gill, Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline

– Matt Owen

Our Hollow, Our Home – Shatterdome

What is it? A knockout melodic metal anthem from Southampton, UK quintet, Our Hollow, Our Home. The band's first offering since third album Burn in the Flood last year, Shatterdome is weighted equally with speaker-rattling, riff-driven verse sections and earworm vocal melodies in the choruses, resulting in an ever-intriguing and hard-hitting metal masterclass.

Standout guitar moment: A harmonized two-handed section from the 2:34 mark precedes a monolithic breakdown, which itself serves as a weighty climax.

For fans of: Bury Tomorrow, While She Sleeps, Asking Alexandria

Sam Roche

Haken – Nightingale

What is it? The first track from the UK progressive rock vets since the return of keyboard player Pete Jones. While Jones was the driving force behind Nightingale’s composition, Ross Jennings and Charlie Griffiths duck and weave around the eerie synths with a series of precision-engineered riffs and runs bound to bend the ear of any player with progressive leanings.

Standout guitar moment: The sheer swag of that drop-tuned riff at the 3:12 mark, and the syncopated wigout that follows.

For fans of: Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Leprous

– Michael Astley-Brown

Lindsay Ell – Right On Time 

What is it? The latest country-pop romp from Lindsay Ell, which the Canadian singer-songwriter/guitarist has labeled “my own theme song”. Doubling as both an empowering anthem and a tightly produced home to plenty of delicious guitar work, Right On Time sees Ell call upon her selective phrasing and infectious vocals to hammer home the message that “you can’t be late to the party in your own life”.

Standout guitar moment: After showcasing her arena-filling vocals, Ell then flexes her equally commanding six-string skills by delivering a brief-yet-impactful solo at the 1:47 mark, littered with tasteful pull-offs and pinpoint bends.

For fans of: Keith Urban, Caroline Jones, Tyler Rich 

– Matt Owen

Deaf Havana – On the Wire

What is it? The third single from the UK alt-rock outfit’s upcoming sixth studio album, The Present is a Foreign Land. The track – the third the band have released as a duo after the departure of bassist Lee Wilson and drummer Tom Ogden late last year – features a foundation that alternates between acoustic and clean electric guitar, finished with uber-catchy harmonised vocals.

Standout guitar moment: The solo from the 2:18 mark shows tasteful songwriting and arranging prowess; it’s not overtly present, and sits relatively quiet in the mix, but in doing so serves as a subtle melodic injection.

For fans of: Young Guns, The 1975, Don Broco

Sam Roche

Mogwai – Boltfor

What is it? The latest distillation of almost three decades of instrumental euphoria from the Glaswegian post-rock icons. An outtake from As the Love Continues – the 2021 album that hit the no. 1 album spot in the UK – Boltfor is typical of much of Mogwai’s 21st century output, blending synths and guitars to the point where it’s no longer clear which is which, their combined wall of sound tugging at every heartstring in the process.

Standout guitar moment: Those gossamer clean lines that build towards the track’s aurora borealis of a climax. Pro tip: the version on streaming platforms adds an extra three minutes to the track’s runtime.

For fans of: Explosions in the Sky, Caspian, Slint

– Michael Astley-Brown

Luís Kalil – Reverse Strike 

What is it? A demonstration of the Brazilian virtuoso’s reverse tapping technique – a skill executed by inverting the tapping hands, so that the left hand continues to carry the lead department, while the right hand dishes out the lower-end embellishments. With the help of Megadeth’s Dirk Verbeuren, Kalil serves up a symphony of scintillating six-string soundbites, though never loses sight of melody, phrasing and emotion.

Standout guitar moment: Take your pick – there’s plenty to choose from. That vocal-like solo effort from the 2:50 mark onward, though – underpinned by a blend of reverse and conventional tapping, face-melting scale shreds and Whammy pedal stomps – is a particularly strong shout.

For fans of: Tosin Abasi, Steve Vai, Charlie Parra 

– Matt Owen

OU – Farewell

What is it? The third single from the Chinese prog-metal quartet's forthcoming debut album, One. Delivering a cyberpunk-esque vibe with drop-tuned guitars and arpeggiated synth smatterings, Farewell boasts a complex arrangement but never loses its jaw-dropping tightness.

Standout guitar moment: Zhang Jing’s syncopated guitar riff from the 1:24 mark – coupled with Chris Cui's uber-thick bass tone – is pretty hard not to bounce your head to.

For fans of: Dream Theater, Periphery

Sam Roche

Weird Nightmare – Wrecked

What is it? An anthemic indie banger from the side-project of Metz frontman Alex Edkins, who recruits Bully’s Alicia Bognanno to share the vocal load. All chiming chords and smart harmonies, Wrecked is a boisterous ode to ’90s indie-rock and everything that followed. Oh, and it has a video with loads of dogs. So there’s that.

Standout guitar moment: That earworm of a cyclical melody that accompanies those supersized guitar chords at the track’s climax.

For fans of: Metz, USA Nails, Dinosaur Jr.

– Michael Astley-Brown

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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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

With contributions from