Well, hello there, February! How you going? Similar to January? Ah, well. Things will pick up soon.
Yes, it’s another week, another month, and we’re still delving through our overstuffed inboxes, wading through streaming services and scouring YouTube for the very best in fresh guitar earworms.
The good news is that we’ve tracked down a veritable feast of six-string goodness to stuff down your gullet and satisfy those tonal cravings.
Knife and fork at the ready? Good. Let’s tuck in.
Death From Above 1979 - One + One
The transparent Dan Armstrong returns! Pioneering two-piece riff machines Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler have dropped the first taste of new album Is 4 Lovers, and it’s a riot of anthemic hooks and the gnarliest bass tone you’ll hear this year.
In short: classic DFA 1979. Major props for that slick two-hand tapping lick at the one-minute mark, too. (MAB)
Du Blonde - I’m Glad That We Broke Up (feat. Ezra Furman)
UK garage-rocker Beth Jeans Houghton – aka Du Blonde – has certainly amassed an impressive black book of musical contacts. Forthcoming album Homecoming features star turns from Shirley Manson, Ride/Oasis guitarist Andy Bell and Ezra Furman.
Furman crops up on first single I’m Glad That We Broke Up, a high-adrenaline joyride through crunchy single coil snarl and ’60s proto-pop-punk melodies that sounds utterly authentic.
Oh, and fun side note: the whole album was written on a guitar formerly owned by Curb Your Enthusiasm star – and Gibson fanatic – Jeff Garlin. (MAB)
Jon Gomm – The Ghost Inside You
Wielding his recently unveiled Ibanez Jon Gomm Signature guitar, one of the greats of modern fingerstyle acoustic returned this week with a new video for The Ghost Inside You – a haunting instrumental piece taken from latest album The Faintest Idea.
In a hypnotic display of what the pioneering guitarist can achieve with just one instrument, Gomm plays rhythm, lead, and everything in between, decorating his enveloping chords and delicate melodies with a series of mesmerizing left-hand taps, right-hand slaps and a variety of double-stop slides.
A track characterized by the feel of Gomm’s performance as much as it is technical brilliance, The Ghost Inside You is a masterclass in combining progressive guitar techniques with visionary songwriting. (MO)
Rob Zombie – The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man
If you’re after pure, high-octane six-string thrills, Rob Zombie’s latest effort will undoubtedly satisfy. Setting the mood with haunted house-style sound design, The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man – faster than you can say its name – kicks you in the teeth with a clutch of no-frills, John 5-delivered heavy metal riffage.
And after you’re fully settled into the track’s groove, it throws you a curveball – or offers a period of respite, depending on how you look at it – serving up a series of wah-soaked funk licks that sound as though they’ve entered our realm from a weird parallel universe in which Rob Zombie invented elevator music. (SR)
Ben Howard - Crowhurst’s Meme
The UK folk-turned-alt-rock philosopher has partnered with The National’s Aaron Dessner for new album, Collections from the Whiteout, marking his first collaborative production effort.
As a result, the brooding full-band arrangements that made up 2018’s Noonday Dream give way to electronic textures and an altogether busier production, but the constant is Howard and longtime guitarist Mickey Smith’s exquisite interplay. The way the track’s nasty neck-pickup overdrive riff is teamed with tentative reverb-drenched leads can only be described as one serious mood. (MAB)
NOFX – Fuck Euphemism
After a recent collaboration with Avenged Sevenfold reimagining – or “euthanizing” – their smash hit Linoleum, veteran punk-rock heavyweights NOFX return with another quintessentially abrasive number, Fuck Euphemism.
The track sees the group veer little from the musical path they’ve paved over their near four decades in the game, but when the formula produces such consistently good material, why stray?
The plethora of clever and expletive-ridden wordplays aside, plenty of powerchord-driven and palm-muted riffs abound underneath, and it’s sure to get you pumped. (SR)
Evile – Hell Unleashed
To satiate your hunger for thrash metal, this one will tide you over for a hot minute. Evile – hailing from Huddersfield, UK – are preparing to unleash their fifth studio album – and first in almost eight years – Hell Unleashed, and we’ve just been treated to the title track. Let us tell you, the name couldn’t be more fitting.
Kicking off with a cacophony of anxiety-inducing atmosphere, Ol Drake and co quickly subdue the chaos, launching into a fiery frenzy of bpm-dialed riffs and thunderous beats to match. We’re fully expecting the album to be one of the most energetic of 2021. (SR)
’68 - The Knife, The Knife, The Knife
These Atlanta riffniks don’t do things by halves. Sure, the hard-rocking two-piece is a common template these days – hell, this isn’t even the only two-piece in this article – but few have the sheer swagger of ’68.
A huge Jack White-worthy hook, epic, post-rock-worthy breakdown and more octave pedals than you can shake a fully stocked pedalboard at? The Knife, The Knife, The Knife has it all. (MAB)
Nisa – Ferris Wheel
The latest offering from Denisa Lumaj – aka Nisa – sees the rising indie-rock star pay homage to the full-flavored tones of the Pixies, St. Vincent and Sharon Van Etten, while offering up her own home-grown pop-rock ingredients.
Easing the listener into Ferris Wheel with a crystal-clean guitar hook, Nisa commands an effortless lyrical flow as she sings about “the whirlwind dynamics of a long-distance relationship”.
After perking our attention with a bitey, subtly distorted riff, Nisa cranks up the gain and falls into a larger-than-life chorus driven by a pulsating bed of guitars dripping with overdrive, resulting in the kind of character and color that you’d expect from the track of a seasoned indie veteran.
Citing her experience growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side as the source of her own indie sound, Nisa’s coming-of-age musical exploration is certainly one to watch out for. (MO)
ERRA – Scorpion Hymn
There’s been no shortage of technical complexity in the first three singles from ERRA’s upcoming self-titled album, and in new track Scorpion Hymn, it doesn’t cease.
The trailblazing Alabaman quintet are at the forefront of metalcore right now, and rightly so. The musical chemistry between J.T. Cavey and co is palpable; their instrumental precision and synergy is second-to-none, and Scorpion Hymn stands as a shining testament to this.
Oh, and if you simply can’t wait for the album, you can learn the multi-string tapping verse riff of Snowblood from guitarist Jesse Cash in the meantime. It should take you until March 19. (SR)
Tetrarch – You Never Listen
Following debut single on Napalm Records I’m Not Right, Atlanta metallers Tetrarch dial down the heavy – only slightly – and crank up the early-2000s nu-metal in their latest effort, You Never Listen.
Eschewing the Whammy-driven riff work from the track’s predecessor, Diamond Rowe proves her standing as a guitarist who knows when to take the back seat – a surefire sign of musical maturity from such a gifted player – serving up a simple but powerful backdrop of chunky powerchords.
And if you dig, there’s going to be more where that came from, as the band have just revealed that their new album Unstable will drop April 30, 2021. (SR)