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From somber blues guitar duels to Shadows-esque guitar-pop: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

(from left) Matthew Murphy, Dan Haggis and Tord Øverland Knudsen of The Wombats perform at Lollapalooza 2022 at Grant Park on July 28, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/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.

Hermanos Gutiérrez feat. Dan Auerbach – Tres Hermanos

What is it? The latest single from brother duo instrumental act Hermanos Gutiérrez and the second to be lifted from the pair’s forthcoming record El Bueno Y El Malo, which also boasts the six-string expertise of The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. The guitar triumvirate of Estevan, Alejandro and Dan is truly a force to be reckoned with – so much so, in fact, that Auerbach has been dubbed “the third brother” in Tres Hermanos. Sounding like something from a Western epic, the track is an instrumental accomplishment, rammed with silky slides, mysterious trills and a gorgeously crafted main melody.

Standout guitar moment: Tres Hermanos spends the first 30 seconds finding its feet, though the guitar interplay that crops up immediately sets the tone for the track completely: haunting, emotive, melancholic… choose your poison. Let's hope the three write more songs together in the future.

For fans of: The Black Keys, José González

– Matt Owen 

Buddy Guy – Gunsmoke Blues (featuring Jason Isbell)

What is it? The somber lead single from the legendary guitarist’s forthcoming album, The Blues Don’t Lie. Guy might be 86, with a legacy that’s been sealed for decades, but he sure isn’t stuck in the past, recruiting one of Americana/roots music’s biggest names and turning his lyrical sights on America’s ever-growing epidemic of gun violence for this powerful song.

Standout guitar moment: A game of guitar one-upmanship this duet is not – Guy and Isbell engage in a candid conversation throughout with their lyrical, piercing and atmospheric licks, conveying together the song’s atmosphere of dread and tragedy as much as its lyrics.

For fans of: B.B. King, Eric Gales, Johnny Winter

Jackson Maxwell

Black Lava – Soul Furnace

What is it? The title track from the Australian extreme metallers' debut album, Soul Furnace, combines elements of black metal, death metal post-metal, and Mastodon-style enormo-riff metal, and holds it all in uneasy equilibrium. It taps into the bleak desolation of a country in unending pandemic lockdowns, but it also finds a way to express that bleakness in a way that is sweet music to the ears of those who enjoy a taste of nihilism and a soupçon of apocalyptic thinking in their metal.

Standout guitar moment: It has to be the riff that Ben Boyle builds towards around the 3:30 mark, a hulking great motif to expel the tension of the dissonance that's gone before. 

For fans of: Tombs, early Mastodon, Deathspell Omega

– Jonathan Horsley

Fit For a King – End (The Other Side)

What is it? The second single from Fit For a King’s just-announced seventh studio album, The Hell We Create. Dealing with the personal story of frontman Ryan Kirby’s wife nearly dying from a stroke, End (The Other Side) is as visceral as you’d predict, with an instrumental bedrock of aggressive drop-tuned electric guitars and ground-pounding double kick-driven drumming bolstering Kirby’s gut-punching vocal monologue.

Standout guitar moment: The Texas troupe go for the classic heavy-verse-melodic-chorus arrangement that’s heard so often in modern metalcore, and a wonderfully slotted-in lead guitar line in the choruses makes a crucial element of the sonic tapestry.

For fans of: Like Moths to Flames, Miss May I, Bury Tomorrow

Sam Roche

Strigoi – King of All Terror

What is it? Strigoi is a blackened death doom project headed up by Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh and his former Vallenfyre bandmate Chris Casket, and King of All Terror, from their forthcoming sophomore album, Viscera, is a shapeshifting genre-masher that shifts air on a hefty backbeat before settling into a pure doom misery groove in what seems like no time at all. 

Standout guitar moment: There are none of those epic leads that Mackintosh dispenses liberally across Paradise Lost's grand compositions – there's just no time for that – but the monochrome riffs not to mention Mackintosh's ungodly electric guitar tone are essential for those weaned on the pristine misery of Gothic, Icon, et al.

For fans of: Paradise Lost, Vallenfyre, Godthrymm

– Jonathan Horsley

The Wombats – Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This

What is it? Despite only releasing an extended LP in January this year, English indie rock outfit and festival favorites The Wombats are already churning out more music. Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This is the first offering from a forthcoming EP, and is irrefutable The Wombats at their head bop-inducing best: it’s speaker-rumbling guitars, infectious guitar hooks and a lung-bursting chorus line aplenty. They say quality over quantity, but such a notion doesn’t seem to apply to The Wombats at the moment.

Standout guitar moment: The Wombats are no stranger to a crowd pleasing guitar hook, and they’ve continued their fine melody making form with aplomb here, conjuring up a particularly catchy chorus line that’s assembled from some neat hammer-on and pull-off action.

For fans of: Circa Waves, Sundara Karma, The Kooks

– Matt Owen

Todd Rundgren – Puzzle (feat. Adrian Belew)

What is it? This beautiful, philosophical and distinctly David Bowie-esque song is the lead single from the pop-rock chameleon’s star-studded forthcoming LP, Space Force. Cosmic, classically tuneful and just a little weird (in only the best way, of course), Puzzle features Talking Heads/David Bowie/King Crimson textural guitar master Adrian Belew, and is all you could ask for from a Rundgren tune. 

Standout guitar moment: Belew’s appearances on Puzzle are few, but boy does he make them count. Peep the absolutely glorious tone he gets in his wailing contribution to the song’s intro – now that’s how you make an entrance.

For fans of: David Bowie, Talking Heads, Steve Vai

Jackson Maxwell

Miss May I – Free Fall

What is it? A crushing new single from Miss May I’s forthcoming album, Curse of Existence. Expertly arranged and brutally delivered, Free Fall is touted as an anthem for those seeking to take a leap of faith despite feeling as though they don’t have the courage.

“When you reach the edge of a journey you have struggled to travel through and you back out before the final step, this is your chance to take that leap off the edge and see where the journey takes you,” says vocalist Levi Benton. “I know the popular term for this is ‘imposter syndrome’ and for anyone who has felt the relief of pushing through, this song is your anthem.”

Standout guitar moment: No moment stands out in particular, simply because B.J. Stead and Justin Aufdemkampe’s guitar lines are stellar throughout.

For fans of: Fit For a King, Bury Tomorrow

Sam Roche

Rhet Miller – Go Through You 

What is it? A dream pop-tinged new offering from indie rock artist Rhett Miller, who props up his vocal swells and effortless lyrical flow with a smattering of sun-splashed six-strings and recurring licks that flirt with fuzz throughout the track’s runtime. The album that Go Through You is lifted from will arrive later this year, and was inspired in part by the relationship between David Bowie and Brian Eno. As far as sonic inspirations go, it's not a band one to have.

Standout guitar moment: The tone employed here is particularly tasty, and is utilized to its full potential during a brief jolly up the fretboard at the 1:52 mark.

For fans of: Daniel Donato, Beck, Fountains of Wayne

– Matt Owen

Demi Lovato – 29

What is it? The latest single from the pop superstar’s forthcoming rock and punk-inspired album Holy Fvck is more subdued than previously released singles Skin of My Teeth and Substance, but is shaped by a series of shimmery Shadows-esque clean guitar lines underneath Lovato’s retrospective lyrics.

Standout guitar moment: The ethereal tremolo which flavors the track’s opening riff is refreshing to hear from an artist of Lovato’s stratospheric caliber.

For fans of: Machine Gun Kelly, WILLOW

Sam Roche

Lande Hekt – Backstreet Snow

What is it? The second preview we’ve heard from the Muncie Girls bassist/singer’s upcoming album, House Without A View, Backstreet Snow is effortless-sounding indie-pop of the first order.

Standout guitar moment: The song’s jangly central riff is one of those that can get stuck in your head for days. 

For fans of: Courtney Barnett, The Radio Dept., Stella Donnelly

Jackson Maxwell

Daeva – Arena at Dis

What is it? A black-thrash track to strip the paint off the wall, from an album that is sure to be on many a shortlist for best underground metal album of 2022, the evocatively titled Through Sheer Will and Black Magic. The song, as with the album, is wall-to-wall action, taking the some of the sounds and steel of classic '80s metal and putting it through the black metal chaos machine. 

Standout guitar moment: Steve Jansson (Crypt Sermon) keeps the riffs coming but the solo at 1:50-ish does what all good metal guitar solos do, offering an exhilarating power-up for a song that's already in the red in every sense.

For fans of: Aura Noir, Devil Master, Midnight

– Jonathan Horsley

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Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.