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From face-melting anthems to moonlit waltzes: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

(from left) Mark Speer, Leon Bridges and Laura Lee perform onstage at the Hinterland Music Festival on August 08, 2021 in St. Charles, Iowa
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (Image credit: Rich Fury/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.

Joe Satriani – Sahara

What is it? Why, it’s only a new song from Joe ‘godfather of shred’ Satriani, and the first to be taken from pandemic-tracked – and superbly titled – full-length, The Elephants of Mars. Satch has always embraced exotic-scaled compositions, going right back to Hordes of Locusts on 1986’s Not of This Earth, and this brooding rocker continues that tradition, drawing on the dust and drive of desert blues as much as it does the emotive leads of David Gilmour.

Standout guitar moment: That laid-back, crystalline clean lead at 1:25 feels like a dynamic departure for Satch, who even at the age of 65, still has the capacity to surprise.

For fans of: Steve Vai, Nick Johnston, Mdou Moctar

– Michael Astley-Brown

Ghost – Call Me Little Sunshine

What is it? The new single from Ghost’s just-announced fifth studio album, Impera, which arrives March 11. It’s a typically propulsive cut from the Swedish metal outfit, with a downtempo groove and plenty of six-string work to digest from Tobias Forge’s band of Nameless Ghouls.

Standout guitar moment: Aside from the beautifully haunting cleans that occur throughout, the solo at the 2:45 mark typifies the melodic nature of much of Ghost’s work, incorporating enveloping harmonies and the odd alternate-picking ascent.

For fans of: Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Kvelertak 

Sam Roche 

Emily Wolfe – The Slider 

What is it? Wolfe’s first single of 2022, and her first new material since the release of her 2021 album Outlier. In what will inevitably turn out to be a precursor to a future album, The Slider sees the blues-rock ace do what she does best, dialing up the fuzz for some truly grizzly guitar tones.

Standout guitar moment: You’ll find it at around the two-minute mark. You’ll know it when you hear it: it’s the bit where Wolfe layers a simple-yet-effective solo atop the gnarly fuzzes of her rhythm guitars. Delicious.

For fans of: Joe Bonamassa, Samantha Fish, Jared James Nichols

Matt Owen 

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Chocolate Hills

What is it? The latest single from Texas Moon, the second collaborative EP from the ever-eclectic Texas trio Khruangbin and Atlanta soul singer Leon Bridges. Anyone who balks at the pairing on paper would do well to listen to this eerie but funky moon-lit waltz. 

Standout guitar moment: Chocolate Hills’ video paints the picture of a nighttime drive down a desolate desert highway, a scene Khruangbin guitarist Mark Speer evokes perfectly with spare, single-note leads that dance dreamily in arcs around Bridges’ passionate vocals. 

For fans of: Woody Jackson’s Red Dead Redemption scores, Whitney, Frank Ocean

Jackson Maxwell

Scorpions – Rock Believer

What is it? The anthemic title track from the German rock legends’ upcoming 19th studio album. With instantly infectious vocal hooks, delicate acoustic guitars and an overall feel-good vibe, the track shows both the band’s experience in songwriting and instrumentation, and desire to keep rock alive and thriving.

Standout guitar moment: It’d be too obvious for us to say Matthias Jabs’ face-melting classic-rock inspired solo, so we’ll say we love the simplicity of that opening dual guitar hook.

For fans of: Whitesnake, Judas Priest, Accept

Sam Roche 

PLOSIVS – Broken Eyes

What is it? The melding of two of alternative guitar’s most influential voices in Pinback’s Rob Crow and Hot Snakes/Drive Like Jehu/Rocket From the Crypt’s John Reis, who spearhead this new melodic punk supergroup, which also features drummer Atom Willard and bassist Jordan Clark. The result is a blend of acerbic and angular hardcore that feels familiar and fresh in exactly the right measure.

Standout guitar moment: The entirety of Broken Eyes is a breathless display of cutting clean tones and claustrophobic riffs, but it’s the sweet and sour of the jagged verse and jangly chorus that make it such a compelling listen.

For fans of: Pinback, Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu

– Michael Astley-Brown

Band of Horses – Lights 

What is it? The third single to be lifted from the indie-rock outfit’s upcoming studio LP, Things Are Great, due March 4. Continuing the band’s consistent track record, Lights leans on a clutch of subtly gain-y electric guitars to conjure up a melting pot of hair-raising moments.

Standout guitar moment: It’s not so much a solo but a repeated lower-string motif, but when it crops up at 2:30 after the heart-swelling chorus atop the feel-good progression, the guitar-only reprieve is one you’ll want to hear back straight away after the first listen.

For fans of: Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket

– Matt Owen

Jack White – Love Is Selfish

What is it? The aching new single from Entering Heaven Alive, the second of White’s forthcoming 2022 albums. While White’s last single, Taking Me Back, was a cranked-up, fuzzed-out rocker, Love Is Selfish is a lovely display of his tender side.

Standout guitar moment: White's detractors often say he’s a one-trick pony when it comes to his playing, but his fingerpicking here is magnificent – clean, driving and modern, while still deeply rooted in the country, folk and blues traditions that so influenced him. 

For fans of: Loretta Lynn, Bob Dylan, Iron & Wine

Jackson Maxwell

Saint Raymond – Talk (Alternate Version) 

What is it? A reinvented version of Saint Raymond’s 2020 single Talk, which strips away the flashy production and electronic instrumentation in favor of a heavily layered, guitar-dominant arrangement. There’s enough harmonic and six-string action to warrant multiple listens, with Saint Raymond – aka Callum Burrows – demonstrating he is as adept behind the fretboard of his Fender Jazzmaster as he is behind the microphone. 

Standout guitar moment: The layers build and swell throughout the track, and come to a head in the track’s closing exchange, which is littered with dynamic chords, four-note upper-fret runs, close-to-silent chime-y strums and punctuative double-note rhythmic stabs.

For fans of: Fickle Friends, Sundara Karma, Amber Run

– Matt Owen

Daniel Rossen – Shadow in the Frame

What is it?: The stunning lead single from the Grizzly Bear singer/guitarist’s long-overdue solo debut album. With layer upon layer of strings, woodwinds and guitars, you’ll still be finding new things to love about this immaculately arranged beauty after a dozen listens. 

Standout guitar moment: There’s a lot going on on this tune, but the playful, uptempo fingerpicked progression that leads it off serves as its melodic centerpiece, and the anchor point from which the rest of its many elements branch off. 

For fans of: Department of Eagles, Sufjan Stevens, Dirty Projectors

Jackson Maxwell

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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, 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.