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From Future Metal to the new Seattle sound: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Ayron Jones performs onstage at The Wiltern on January 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/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.

Ayron Jones – Filthy

What is it? We’ve long heralded Ayron Jones as Seattle’s next great guitar hope, and this new standalone single further cements that reputation. Co-written alongside Marti Frederikson (Ozzy Osbourne, Carrie Underwood) and Scott Stevens (Shinedown, Halestorm), Filthy’s raucous hooks and sludgy riffs are like a mashup of Alice in Chains and N.E.R.D. – and that’s a pretty potent combination in our book.

Standout guitar moment: Come for the groaning Jerry Cantrell bends, stay for the Prince-style middle eight vamps.

For fans of: Alice in Chains, N.E.R.D., Black Stone Cherry

– Michael Astley-Brown

Nita Strauss – Summer Storm

What is it? The second single from Strauss’ highly-anticipated second solo album, Summer Storm is the follow-up to last year’s Dead Inside, her acclaimed collaboration with Disturbed frontman David Draiman. In a recent interview, Strauss told Guitar World that this phenomenal tune “covers all the bases” of her guitar playing, and indeed it’s a fitting introduction to her versatility on the instrument.

Standout guitar moment: The brutal crunch of those riffs and Strauss’ explosive pentatonic outbursts are obviously impressive, but the strong, memorable and well-articulated melodies Strauss plays – which show how much of an influence Iron Maiden remains on this Iron Maidens veteran’s playing – reveal that not only is Strauss a great songwriter, she doesn’t need a singer to help her showcase that songwriting skill.

For fans of: Iron Maiden, John 5, DragonForce 

Jackson Maxwell

State Champs – What’s My Age Again?

What is it? Mark Hoppus might have dispelled rumors of an imminent Blink-182 reunion with guitarist Tom DeLonge last month, but that hasn’t stopped NY’s finest pop-punk export State Champs from paying homage to the band’s classic lineup.

Off the back of their triumphant fifth studio album, Kings of the New Age – which arrived earlier this year – Derek DiScanio, Tyler Szalkowski, Ryan Scott Graham and Evan Ambrosio deliver a faithful take on one of the most iconic pop-punk tracks of all time, highlighting the timelessly universal appeal of a two-minute track now well over 20 years old.

Standout guitar moment: What's My Age Again?'s arpeggiated opening riff has the ability to make anyone feel as though they're skating down Sunset Strip with a bottle of ice-cold Mountain Dew. Good times.

For fans of: Blink-182, New Found Glory, Sum 41

Sam Roche

Hedras – AI 

What is it? As one of today’s most prolific progressive instrumentalists, it’s a testament to Hedras’ razor-sharp creativity that every new release seems to outdo the last – both in terms of technical scope, melody and performance. His chops are always flawless, but in AI – described as “the premise of what Future Metal is” – Hedras particularly excels. The pinpoint lead passages sound effortless despite their sheer complexity, while the time signature-shifting exchanges – loaded with Polyphia-style riffing – install a healthy level of rhythmic uncertainty.

Standout guitar moment: If you wish to grasp Hedras’ instrumental abilities, you need only listen to the solo line at the 2:06 mark. It’s equal parts selective phrasing and adventurous noodling, and ends with a pretty unbelievable legato line.

For fans of: Polyphia, Manuel Gardner Fernandes, Octavision

– Matt Owen

Quicksand – Giving the Past Away

What is it? NYC post-hardcore royalty Quicksand’s latest single had the working title “Greatest Quicksand Song Ever”, so it’s something of a surprise to discover it was left off last year’s Distant Populations album. Released ahead of the band’s imminent tour with Clutch and Helmet, Giving the Past Away does indeed prove to be a celebration of everything Quicksand, namely big riffs and abrasive guitar sonics.

Standout guitar moment: Sure, the stop-start hooks are up front, but listen out for Walter Schreifels’ nonchalant ear-ripping harmonic stabs sprinkled throughout the track.

For fans of: Helmet, Fugazi, Clutch

– Michael Astley-Brown

MILES – Never Have I Ever (feat. Travis Barker)

What is it? The closing track from the debut EP of St. Louis-born, Los Angeles-based singer-rapper MILES. Like a pop-punk Whac-A-Mole, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker pops up once again for what seems like his 100th feature of the year so far, serving up groovy beats under an infectious arrangement of clean electric guitars and instantly catchy vocals.

Standout guitar moment: The opening riff that continues through the verses is straight-up good vibes, and makes us want to pick up a guitar and play along.

For fans of: KennyHoopla, Blink-182

Sam Roche

“Captain” Kirk Douglas – We Can Be One

What is it? 7/8 isn’t the most obvious time signature for a ’70s-inspired get down, but longtime Roots guitarist “Captain” Kirk Douglas has never been one to go by the book, and this claustrophobic funk jam offers a tantalizing taste of his forthcoming second album.

Standout guitar moment: We Can Be One is a rich tapestry of tight single-note lines and syncopated wah stabs, with aching overdriven lead lines that add a cinematic flair to proceedings.

For fans of: The Fantastic Negrito, The Roots, The Meters

– Michael Astley-Brown

Cleopatrick – OK 

What is it? While making their way around North America with rock royalty Royal Blood, heavy alt-rock duo Cleopatrick took to their tour van to produce OK: their second single of 2022, which is big on rumbling riffs and “digitally abused” guitars. Produced with the goal of sounding like it was “recorded and produced using a sentient IBM computer from 2002”, OK is no nonsense, no frills rock at its finest – guttural guitar breakdowns, lo-fi licks and eardrum-rattling chords.

Standout guitar moment: OK was written with “no regard for the rules”, and while that rings true for the most part – peep those indecipherable sonic screams of the chorus – it’s the opening riff that gets our attention. A perfect aperitif for the ensuing mayhem.

For fans of: Royal Blood, The Pale White

– Matt Owen

Frankie Cosmos – Aftershook

What is it? The second single from Inner World Peace, the new album from Greta Kline’s beloved Frankie Cosmos project. Reflecting on the past with a touch of anxiety, Aftershook is a disarming guitar-pop tune that you can approach from a number of angles.

Standout guitar moment: Taken in context with its subject matter, Aftershook’s solo has a woozy, hall-of-mirrors like quality – mildly disorienting but fun all the same.

For fans of: Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Alvvays

Jackson Maxwell

Devin Townsend – Moonpeople

What is it? The first single from Townsend’s forthcoming 21st studio album – yes, you read that right – Lightwork. With such a wealth of musical material under his belt after decades in the business, Devin Townsend has set a high-bar for himself, but he vaults over it in spectacular fashion on the ethereally space-y Moonpeople.

While the track’s first half is devoid of electric guitar, HevyDevy injects the arrangement with some wide-panned palm-muted lines in its climactic second half, as well as some subtly placed clean leads as the track approaches gratifying conclusion.

Standout guitar moment: The enveloping cleans that decorate the track's outro highlight Townsend's penchant for subtler electric guitar playing, in addition to the heavier riffing he's built much of his career on.

For fans of: Opeth, Leprous, Dream Theater

Sam Roche

The Amazons – There’s a Light 

What is it? Festival favorites and popular British indie rockers The Amazons are not far away from releasing their third studio album, and though fans probably didn’t need another reason to get hyped for the “anthem-packed” effort, There’s a Light will most definitely add to the anticipation. Blending ballad-y verses with speaker-smashing choruses underpinned by growling guitars and melodic percussion, the single further proves why The Amazons are one of today’s foremost indie guitar bands currently operating in the UK.

Standout guitar moment: It’s not a solo per se, but the interlude section that sees the vocals drop out in favor of some fuzzy, swelling six-string action is a particular highlight of the track. Definitely one for the live sets.

For fans of: Kings of Leon, Sundara Karma

– Matt Owen

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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.