From bowel-busting riffs to life-affirming 12-string acoustic bliss: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Bones UK
(Image credit: Bones UK/YouTube)

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.

Bones UK – Cheap Love

What is it? Carmen Vandenberg continues to stake her claim as one of the 21st century’s most beguiling guitar heroes with the latest single from the UK duo. It’s one of their most commercial-leaning tracks yet, all wistful Radiohead arpeggios and big vocal hooks, but does nothing to dull the edge that has made the pair such an irresistible force in alternative rock.

Standout guitar moment: Why, hello there: is that a proper ’80s guitar solo we hear? Vandenberg’s ear for just the right notes and all the right tones makes for an arms-in-the-air conclusion.

For fans of: Alt-J, Arlo Parks, Wargasm

– Michael Astley-Brown

Cardinal Black – Ain’t My Time 

What is it? It’s fair to say that Cardinal Black – the rock band that features YouTuber and all-round guitar heavyweight Chris Buck – has caused quite a stir since it burst onto the scene with its debut single, Tell Me How it Feels, last May. After more than 12 months of waiting, the band’s debut album is now only weeks away, and has been further teased with the delicate-yet-gritty Ain’t My Time.

Standout guitar moment: There are no solos to wax lyrical about, but there is an abundance of Buck’s nuanced six-string skills, from the fingerpicking noodles of the outro to the tremolo-tinged tinkerings of the verses.

For fans of: Marcus King, Larkin Poe, The Cactus Blossoms

– Matt Owen

Adrian Quesada – Noble Metals

What is it? The lead single from the Grammy winner and Black Pumas guitarist’s second solo album of 2022, Jaguar Sound. Khruangbin fans especially (not to mention anyone who’s enjoyed the Red Dead Redemption soundtracks) will fawn over Noble Metals’s psychedelic-funk-through-a-Western-lens vibe. We’re sure loving it, too.

Standout guitar moment: Once it settles in, Noble Metals is largely led by a delectable bass line and cinematic synth and string arrangements, but Quesada’s supple rhythm work and evocative single-note lines (especially in the song’s first minute) are crucial in filling out this piece’s hypnotic atmosphere.

For fans of: Khruangbin, Black Pumas, Ennio Morricone

Jackson Maxwell

Bury Tomorrow – Abandon Us

What is it? The first single from the British metalcore juggernaut’s just-announced seventh album, The Seventh Sun. Indeed, the Southampton outfit – a six-piece following the departure of longtime guitarist and vocalist Jason Cameron last year – are about to be seven albums in, and show absolutely no signs of their uniquely savage brand of metalcore abating.

Abandon Us shows a metal troupe holding fast at the top of their game all these years later, a clutch of drop-tuned guitar riffs driving the band’s sound as ever.

Standout guitar moment: It’s a frequently used stylistic device in metalcore: melodic choruses which juxtapose brutal verse sections. But Kristan Dawson’s leads ensure the technique is stamped with Bury Tomorrow’s sonic footprint.

For fans of: While She Sleeps, Parkway Drive, Our Hollow, Our Home

Sam Roche

Ichika Nito – Away

What is it? Session legend Tommy Tedesco allegedly once stated there’s no money above the 5th fret, but for Japanese guitar wizard and Ibanez signature artist Ichika Nito, the dusty end of the neck lies in the single digits. It’s hammered home by Away, which sounds like a music box for the shred generation, all chiming fingerstyle and vibrato’d taps that owe as much to Final Fantasy as they do Eddie Van Halen.

Standout guitar moment: That sudden dynamic contrast halfway through, whose dramatic open-string flourish and dizzying scale runs threaten to take the track in a flamenco direction, but without ever leaving the ethereal world Ichika has created (nice cape, btw).

For fans of: Manuel Gardner Fernandes, Polyphia, Covet

– Michael Astley-Brown

Beatenberg – Symposium 

What is it? Before the start of 2022, South African trio Beatenberg hadn’t released new material for four years, not since 2018’s full-length 12 Views of Beatenberg. Now, though, the songs are coming thick and fast ahead of their upcoming EP, On the Way Back to Beatenberg. The latest, Symposium, is the perfect preview of the Beatenberg sound – cleverly crafted guitar lines, a watertight musical arrangement and numerous nuanced layers that demand multiple repeat listens. 

Standout guitar moment: After each chorus, there’s some really tasty acoustic guitar interplay, but it’s the last guitar interlude that particularly stands out – each ear is filled with a different melodic line, both of which dance away underneath some thick, tightly compressed electric noodles.

For fans of: Cassia, Asgeir, Mezzanine

– Matt Owen

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Love Earth

What is it? The mere fact that – 53 years after they shook the earth with the light-years-ahead-of-its-time masterpiece Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil Young and his greatest musical foil are still cranking out albums at an almost yearly pace is practically miraculous. This is the slow-rolling and endlessly charming lead single from the group’s latest LP, World Record.

Standout guitar moment: Nils Lofgren takes up slide duty on Love Earth, while Young barrels away at the piano. A perennially under appreciated master of texture, Lofgren’s slide licks are light and sweet as honey. His short, economical statements – played with perfect intonation – punch far above their weight, and transform this understated shuffle into a memorable, poignant ballad.

For fans of: Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, The Band

Jackson Maxwell

Slipknot – Warranty

What is it? Slipknot’s seventh full-length offering begins with true curveball in Adderall, an almost Stone Sour-style down-tempo number with grunge flavors and major tonality. But the Iowa metal titans bring things back to their signature chaotic sound shortly after with The Dying Song (Time to Sing), The Chapeltown Rag and Yen, climaxing with one of the heaviest cuts of their sprawling catalog yet, Warranty.

The track is brimming with all of Slipknot’s artistic motifs – brutal drop B riffing courtesy of Jim Root and Mick Thomson, pounding percussion and demonic backing vocals from Michael “Tortilla Man” Pfaff and Shawn “Clown” Crahan, and a visceral lead vocal performance from Corey Taylor – but still pushes forward their long-established sound with unstoppable energy.

Standout guitar moment: Root’s brief solo from the 1:19 mark will be welcome to fans who lamented the lack of lead work in Slipknot’s last album, We Are Not Your Kind.

For fans of: Korn, Machine Head

Sam Roche

Phoxjaw – apples

What is it? Hailing from the same UK city that gave the world IDLES, fellow post-punk Bristolians Phoxjaw take an altogether trippier – and riffier – approach to disruptive guitar music with apples. It’s a maelstrom of dystopian textures and nasty chord progressions that climaxes with a bowel-buster of a riff that would make Buzz Osborne proud. How do we like them apples? Quite a lot, actually.

Standout guitar moment: That intro texture is a trip – we’re guessing a super-slow EarthQuaker Devices Rainbow Machine – but everything from 2:30 onwards is just the best possible kind of filth.

For fans of: Tigercub, Heriot, The Jesus Lizard

– Michael Astley-Brown

Baby Queen – Lazy 

What is it? South African singer-songwriter Baby Queen – aka Arabella Latham – has been following up her highly applauded debut studio album The Yearbook with a string of guitar-driven singles that point towards the potential arrival of an equally infectious second studio LP. Lazy has all the hallmarks of a future Baby Queen favorite: plenty of attitude, tongue in cheek lyrics and an oversized chorus quite possibly fueled by her pink custom Fender Telecaster Deluxe.

Standout guitar moment: The verses are headlined by warbling, modulation-drenched guitars, but it’s the last chorus – which combines acoustic and electric layers alike – that accommodates the juiciest wall of tone of 'em all.

For fans of: Wet Leg, Yungblud, Circa Waves

– Matt Owen 

Meet Me @ The Altar – Say It (To My Face)

What is it? The latest track from fast-rising pop-punk trio Meet Me @ The Altar. The first taste of the group’s upcoming debut album, Say It (To My Face) shows that the pop-punk formula of catchy vocals, feelgood guitar powerchords and driving bass lines is not to be tampered with, as it continues to spawn highly-energetic tracks like this so many years after the genre first came to be.

Standout guitar moment: A simple-but-effective clean lead line in the middle eight section highlights the melodic compositional ability of guitarist Téa Campbell.

For fans of: Pinkshift, State Champs, In Her Own Words

Sam Roche

Christie Lenée – Coming Alive

What is it? The buoyant, life-affirming title track from the acoustic specialist’s new album. Written in a log cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, Lenée says the song embodies “renewal and freedom, liberation of the heart, creative expansion and self discovery,” all of which grab you from the first note Lenée plays.

Standout guitar moment: Lenée is one of the best acoustic guitarists in the world, and indeed this tune lifts off with a sweeping 12-string acoustic riff highlighted by brisk, chiming arpeggios. Top prize though, goes to when Lenée picks up a Tele and adds some ethereal textures to the song. The way she hits those bends? Now that’s how you to express a thousand words with just a few chords. 

For fans of: Kaki King, Molly Tuttle, Joni Mitchell

Jackson Maxwell

Our Hollow, Our Home – Idlewaves

What is it? A relentless and hard-hitting single from British metalcore quintet our Hollow, Our Home. Packed with unbound aggression in the verses but effortless melodies in the chorus sections, Idlewaves follows the typical metalcore blueprint, but with this Southampton outfit's unique style, there's no need to tweak the formula.

Standout guitar moment: The chugs in the breakdown from the 3:12 mark are monumental.

For fans of: Bury Tomorrow, LANDMVRKS, While She Sleeps

Sam Roche

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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.