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From Pink Floyd to Primus: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Anna Calvi performs on the main Stage on day 2 of The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival 2019 at the Custard Factory on September 15, 2019 in Birmingham, England.
Anna Calvi (Image credit: Ollie Millington/Redferns)

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.

Pink Floyd – Hey Hey Rise Up

What is it? Incredibly, a new Pink Floyd song. David Gilmour, Nick Mason and longtime Floyd bassist Guy Pratt have reunited to record a new track in support of the people of Ukraine, with Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band BoomBox on vocals.

Standout guitar moment: This might be the first time in decades that Gilmour has created entirely new material with his post-Waters-era Pink Floyd bandmates, but he hasn’t lost a single bit of his touch. With his trademark wailing bends, heartstring-tugging melodic motifs and roof-of-the-Sistine-Chapel-like tone, Gilmour provides the perfect musical counterpoint to Khlyvnyuk’s eerie but powerful vocals – which were recorded in Kyiv’s then-empty Sofiyskaya Square.

For fans of: David Gilmour, Queen, Led Zeppelin

Jackson Maxwell

Clutch – Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone) 

What is it? Arguably the best example of a song we didn’t know we needed but are glad we’ve got: a track about the Boss Metal Zone Covid-19 vaccine conspiracy theory that plagued the internet at the height of the pandemic. For the track, Clutch deploy a barrage of high-octane riffage, bruising basslines and energetic drum beats that make light of the nonsensical theory in the best, most badass way possible.

Standout guitar moment: The razor-like guitar riff that crops up at the 1:27 mark that, for our two cents, sounds like it was conceived by the hallowed circuit of the Boss Metal Zone itself.

For fans of: Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age

– Matt Owen

Primus – Conspiranoia

What is it? It seems Primus are only in competition with themselves, and boy do they outdo themselves every time. On sprawling new single Conspiranoia – taken from the trio’s forthcoming EP, Conspiranoid – Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde and Tim Alexander cram copious amounts of winding basslines, outside-the-box guitar licks and non-traditional arrangements into a whopping 11-and-a-half-minute runtime.

Standout guitar moment: LaLonde’s double helping of solos from the 5:34 mark typifies Primus’s non-conformist approach to songwriting, consistently changing course with everything from staccato stabs and lightning-quick sweeps to rapid pull-off-driven descending passages.

For fans of: Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa

– Sam Roche

Interpol – Toni

What is it? They’re not in full suits anymore, but New York’s foremost purveyors of suave, moon-lit post-punk are back with The Other Side of Make-Believe, their first new album in four years. This is the LP’s lead single.

Standout guitar moment: Toni shows the trio playing with some new textures, but Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler are still a stellar two-guitar team. The sound of Banks’ slick, Strokes-y rhythm work set against Kessler’s frenzied picking toward the song’s conclusion will be familiar, and quite welcome, to any Interpol aficionado.

For fans of: The Strokes, The National, The Killers

Jackson Maxwell

Delicate Steve – Street Breeze

What is it? After getting his hands on a 1966 Fender Stratocaster during the pandemic, Steve Marion reconnected with the simple joys of plugging straight into the amp and just playing. Street Breeze is our first taste of his renewed focus, and it’s a reflective, breezy – and I swear to all that is good and guitar-y that I wrote that adjective before clocking the song title – stroll through guitar memory lane, conjuring the kind of chill, world-influenced vibes that have made Khruangbin a household name.

Standout guitar moment: We’d be remiss not to mention the eight-stage phaser on the rhythm tracks, but the loose phrasing that crops at during the track’s breakdown is beautifully delivered – both wistful and uplifting.

For fans of: Ty Segall, Mdou Moctar, Khruangbin

– Michael Astley-Brown

Anna Calvi – Ain’t No Grave 

What is it? The moody new single from English singer-songwriter Anna Calvi, who dials up the gain and locks into a brooding low-end riff for four minutes of angsty six-string soundbites and eerily hypnotic vocals. The track relentlessly chugs away, and eventually arrives unerringly at its destination with, of course, a few guitar-heavy detours – including a trip down an atmospheric side road that delivers a spectacular lead-laden interlude.

Standout guitar moment: The one guitar line dominates about 80 percent of the track, and for good reason. But when it’s paired with the wailing ascending lead lines at the 2:14 mark, it makes for one stellar six-string listening experience.

For fans of: Nick Cave, Snail Mail

– Matt Owen

Helms Alee – Tripping Up the Stairs

What is it? The latest skullcrusher from the alt-stoner Seattle trio, who count Ben Verellen of Verellen Amps fame among their lineup. Tripping Up the Stairs boasts a goosebump-inducing lineup of riffs, and Verellen’s tonal nous lends each one the exact shade of nightmarish fuzz it needs to deliver on its hellish promise.

Standout guitar moment: Those double-tracked fuzz slides at 1:44, leading into that uber-gnarly treble line. Chills.

For fans of: Torche, Kylesa, Baroness

– Michael Astley-Brown

Hovvdy – Town 

What is it? A new track from American indie-pop duo Hovvdy, who for their latest offering do what they do best: conjure up an oversized chord progression, compose some catchy lyrics and go to town creating some truly kaleidoscopic soundscapes. 

Standout guitar moment: It’s another compositional home run for Hovvdy, whose tastefully layered intro acoustic strums and textural electric musings help form the infectious foundations of the entire track.

For fans of: Bon Iver, Florist, Pinegrove, Lomelda 

– Matt Owen 

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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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).