From psychedelic blues to relentless punk: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Ibrahim Ag Alhabib (left) and Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni of Tinariwen perform on stage at The Roundhouse on November 16, 2014 in London
(Image credit: C Brandon/Redferns via 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.

Fantastic Negrito – Highest Bidder

What is it? The stupendously funky lead single from White Jesus Black Problems, the Oakland, California-based singer/songwriter/guitarist’s new album, which tells the story of his seventh generation grandparents’ then-illegal interracial union in 18th century Virginia. 

Standout guitar moment: The whole tune has a hypnotic undercurrent of wah-colored funk/disco rhythm guitar, but the acoustic slide work in the chorus – which follows the melodic hook – adds a flavorful layer of charm to the proceedings. 

For fans of: D’Angelo, The Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr. 

Jackson Maxwell

Tinariwen –Taskiwt Tadjat 

What is it? Tinariwen’s first new single proper since the release of 2019’s Amadjar, and a four-minute masterclass of the group’s hypnotic Tuareg guitar music. It stands out from absolutely everything else on this list – and for good reason – thanks to the culturally styled fretboard cartwheels and the mesmerizing arrangement.

Standout guitar moment: It’s tempting to cheat and say “all of it”: the rhythmically infectious lulling of the guitar is all over this track, after all. However, the two-part line around the 2:50 mark epitomizes the quirk and charm of this band’s originality, and so takes the cake.

For fans of: Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad

– Matt Owen 

Pike vs The Automaton – Land ft. Brent Hinds

What is it? An unexpectedly bluesy turn from doom-metal lord Matt Pike, who joins forces with Mastodon’s lead maverick to trade rootsy licks. Hinds showcases his old-timey slide chops while Pike hammers home the dust-bowl riffs.

Standout guitar moment: Hinds’ solos are on fine lyrical form throughout, but we should also give a shoutout to Pike’s own lead, which channels Iommi at his most psychedelic.

For fans of: Black Sabbath, Mark Lanegan, Tom Waits

– Michael Astley-Brown

Sabaton – The Unkillable Soldier

What is it? Sabaton’s latest guitar-fueled history lesson from their upcoming album, The War to End All Wars. It tells the story of a Belgian-born British soldier named Adrian Carton de Wiart who fought in both World Wars, and became known for his apparent inability to be killed. During his years of service, he suffered multiple gunshot wounds, survived two plane crashes, and tunneled out of a prisoner-of-war camp, earning himself multiple accolades including the most prestigious award in the British honors system, the Victoria Cross.

Standout guitar moment: It’s got to be Chris Rörland and Tommy Johannson’s dizzying harmonized solo at the 2:50 mark, doesn’t it?

For fans of: DragonForce, Sonata Arctica, HammerFall

– Sam Roche

Ann Wilson – Greed

What is it? The lead single from the Heart singer's third solo effort, Fierce Bliss. Full of righteous anger, and sporting a dynamite vocal performance from Wilson, Greed’s got the infectious energy of Heart’s early work with the satisfying arena-rock sheen of the band’s most commercially successful era. 

Standout guitar moment: Like most of Fierce Bliss, Greed features session guitar veteran Tom Bukovac. Like all session greats, Bukovac instinctively knows exactly what the song needs and delivers it – a springy but powerful riff with a huge bottom end that brings to mind the one that powered Heart’s timeless smash, Barracuda.

For fans of: Heart, Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Starship  

Jackson Maxwell

Crossfaith – Gimme Danger

What is it? Crossfaith’s new full-throttle, EDM-tinged standalone single with Japanese rapper, Ralph. It’s no-holds-barred energy throughout, and features no shortage of killer electric guitar riffs from Kazuki Takemura.

Standout guitar moment: Takemura’s riff from the 2:02 shows that sometimes simplicity is the key to power in metal songwriting.

For fans of: While She Sleeps, Bury Tomorrow, Fit For a King

– Sam Roche

Petrol Girls – Baby, I Had an Abortion

What is it? Punk to their core, post-hardcore Brits Petrol Girls have always been unapologetically outspoken, and describe their latest track as “a party-banger about having an abortion and not being sorry about it”. Likewise, the instrumentation pulls no punches, a bracing cacophony of fuzzed-up guitars and synths, driven by a pounding bassline.

Standout guitar moment: Those scuzzy, fuzzed-out chords that build as the track approaches its conclusion are absolutely riotous.

For fans of: Pussy Riot, Bikini Kill, IDLES

– Michael Astley-Brown

Spoon – My Babe 

What is it? The final single from Spoon’s 10th LP, Lucifer on the Sofa, which arrived today (February 11). It’s undoubtedly one of the softer inclusions on the track list – one that contrasts with Spoon’s rock-heavy first single, The Hardest Cut – but that just means there’s an opportunity to hear some woozy, easy-on-the-ear acoustic musings. That, and a tasty Stones-esque solo.

Standout guitar moment: It’s the solo that gets the shout here. My Babe comes into its own around the halfway mark, with the 2:30 mark ushering in a simple-yet-swaggering lead.

For fans of: My Morning Jacket, Wolf Parade

– Matt Owen 

Congotronics International - Beyond The 7th Bend

What is it? One side of the debut two-sided single from this awe-inspiring supergroup, comprised of Konono Nº1, Kasai Allstars, Deerhoof, Juana Molina, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, and Skeletons’ Matt Mehlan. With so many members, Congotronics International could easily slide into the ‘too many cooks’ situation that befalls so many supergroups, but this instrumental shows the ensemble’s intuitive, easy musical chemistry. 

Standout guitar moment: The track clocks in at under two minutes, but floats on a dreamy tapestry of Western acoustic and electric guitars, African guitars and Congolese thumb piano. Though they’re mostly playing independent runs, each guitarist on the track weaves their contribution perfectly into the rhythmic fabric of the song – mesmerizing stuff. 

For fans of: Konono Nº1, Kasai Allstars, Juana Molina

Jackson Maxwell

Zeal & Ardor – Death to the Holy

What is it? The third track from the Swiss avant-garde metallers’ self-titled third studio album. In typical Zeal & Ardor fashion, Death to the Holy deals countless curveballs, shifting genres and instrumental arrangements multiple times across its three-minute-seven-second runtime.

Standout guitar moment: The alternate-picked riff from the 0:22 mark hits with considerable impact as it serves as a resolution to the single-note piano line that drones prior.

For fans of: Ihsahn, Wolves in the Throne Room

– Sam Roche

El Moono – Requiem

What is it? Hailed by our sister publication Metal Hammer as ones to watch in 2022, El Moono fuse the seismic riffs of grunge with the atmospherics of post-rock to arresting effect. The band’s sonic heft is on full display in Requiem, taken from new EP, Temple Corrupted.

Standout guitar moment: The build and subsequent wrecking ball of an outro riff, which reaches post-hardcore meets Rage Against the Machine intensity.

For fans of: Deftones, Thrice, Pelican

– Michael Astley-Brown

NewDad – Spring 

What is it? A track lifted from the newly released EP of NewDad – an Irish alt-rock band who follow in the footsteps of their indie forebears with big, kaleidoscopic six-string soundscapes and delicate, decorative lead lines. Spring is no exception: it’s soft when it needs to be – making use of some sweet modulated guitar motifs – but sure isn’t afraid to throw some bruising, full-band metaphorical punches.

Standout guitar moment: It’s a pick ‘n’ mix of lead lines, this one. But the two-part, left-right interacting guitar passages that crop up after the explosive first chorus ooze style and class.

For fans of: Wolf Alice, The 1975

– Matt Owen 

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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.