Rodrigo y Gabriela groove while Lamb of God and Kreator slay in this week's essential guitar tracks

Gabriela Quintero (left) and Rodrigo Sanchez perform at the Pier 17 Rooftop on October 10, 2021 in New York City
(Image credit: Jason Mendez/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.

Rodrigo y Gabriela – Descending to Nowhere

What is it? The new single from the Grammy-award winning guitar duo, who recently shared news of their upcoming album, In Between Thoughts… A New World, due April 2. The album – their first in four years – is said to be one of the pair’s “most revelatory offerings yet”, and it’s a tease that sounds entirely plausible if Descending to Nowhere is anything to go on. It’s a particularly groove-driven entry to the duo’s discography, combining the usual nylon-string escapades with some snappy steel-string strums.

Standout guitar moment: From 2:45 onwards, the track reaches its climax, delivering panned guitar grooves and a swelling instrumentation that brings proceedings to an awesome close.

For fans of: Rodrigo Sanchez, Gabriela Quintero

– Matt Owen

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives – Country Star

What is it? There’s something distinctly wonderful about hearing a veteran musician operating right in their wheelhouse confidently, cleanly and competently. Such is the case on Country Star, the somewhat weary but defiantly rocking and autobiographical new single from Nashville titan Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives.

Standout guitar moment: Stuart is one of the all-time-great country guitar players, and his sense of what’s needed for a song is impeccable. Given the song’s life-on-the-road subject matter and party-ready tempo, Stuart wouldn’t be blamed for really burning one here, but his tasteful, lyrical and expressive eight-bar solo around halfway in fits Country Star like a glove.

For fans of: Old ‘97s, Wilco, Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds

Jackson Maxwell

Beck – Thinking About You 

What is it? A haunting standalone single from Beck, who – for the first time since 2020’s Hyperspace reissue – picks up his dynamic nylon-string acoustic for an emotive three-and-a-half minutes of tidy fingerstyle progressions. 

There’s plenty of action around the guitar for the listener to unpack, but the heart of this song is Beck and his acoustic. Strip away the post-production trickery and ditch the additional instrumentation, and Thinking About You will still be a standout guitar track thanks to Beck’s sumptuous feel.

Standout guitar moment: Beck’s acoustic work here is enough to get fingerstyle fans salivating, and though it’s not the most complicated piece on the planet, it’s delivery is dynamic and exquisite.

For fans of: Hozier

– Matt Owen

Chris Shiflett – Black Top White Lines

What is it? If a UK radio DJ is to be believed, Foo Fighters have a new album out next month. But lead man Chris Shiflett is also planning to release a solo record – written with Jaren Johnston (The Cadillac Three) and John Osborne (Brothers Osborne) – and judging from Black Top White Lines, it’ll be a country-rockin’ doozy.

Standout guitar moment: That spruced-up Life in the Fast Line riff was a shoo-in for the coveted SGM slot, but dang, the Dyna Comped to hell solo melds Hendrix and ZZ Top in such a cocksure manner, we can’t help but defer to those leads.

For fans of: Eagles, ZZ Top, Cadillac Three

– Michael Astley-Brown

Feist – In Lightning

What is it? One of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s three new singles – her first new material in six years – In Lightning is an astonishing piece of avant-pop that’s full of surprises. 

Standout guitar moment: One of said surprises is the gnarling, psychedelic guitar break that re-arranges the tapestry of the song at 1:40 and brings to mind George Harrison’s game-changing, reversed leads on The Beatles’ I'm Only Sleeping.

For fans of: Dirty Projectors, Kate Bush, Björk

Jackson Maxwell

Lamb of God & Kreator – State of Unrest 

What is it? A new joint single from heavy metal heroes Lamb of God and Kreator, who will be donating the proceeds from the track to Dallas Hope Charities in the name of Riley Gale – the late Power Trip vocalist who passed away in August 2020 before he had the chance to record State of Unrest’s vocals. After his death, Lamb of God and Kreator linked up to finish the track, which was first written back in 2020, in his memory. The song’s powerful emotional core is channeled into an equally powerful guitar throwdown, which pays tribute to Gales through mammoth riffs and raging solos.

Standout guitar moment: It’s a Lamb of God track, so naturally the riffs are a highlight. But here, there’s an extra edge to them, with the recurring gut-punch-of-a-riff cropping up every now and then to launch another six-string assault on the ears with a blissfully devastating effect.

For fans of: Power Trip, Slipknot, Korn

– Matt Owen

Squid – Swing (In a Dream)

What is it? Yelpy UK post-punks Squid have toned down the quirk and upped the mood on this hypnotic hint at what’s to come on this summer’s sophomore effort, O Monolith. Based around a brooding, hypnotic math-rock figure, it’s an altogether darker affair than anything we’ve heard so far from the art-rock five-piece, and we are here for it.

Standout guitar moment: Shoutout to the twangsome single-coil tone on that main riff, which showcases every buzz and rattle, only adding to the track’s menacing vibe.

For fans of: Radiohead, Bloc Party, Black Midi

– Michael Astley-Brown

nhomme – 一種の過音iii (a kind of overtone iii)

What is it? The rollercoaster ride of a closing track from 一種の過音 (a kind of overtone), the incredible new EP from Japanese math-rock band nhomme. With bracing screamo vocals, lurching, whiplash transitions and breakneck tempos, a kind of overtone isn’t for the faint of heart, but even if math-rock isn’t your thing, the instrumental virtuosity on display here is worth your time.

Standout guitar moment: a kind of overtone has a remarkable variety of standout guitar moments for an EP that’s less than 13 minutes long, but the stuttering, high-register, Morse code guitar figure that opens iii is not only the coolest of the bunch, it’s one of the most exhilarating guitar-led intros we’ve heard from anyone thus far in 2023.

For fans of: Tera Melos, TTNG, Covet

Jackson Maxwell

Bully – Lose You (feat. Soccer Mommy)

What is it? Two of the frontrunners of the ongoing '90s alt-rock revival team up on this fuzzy sugar rush of a single – released, appropriately enough, via Sub Pop. With lashings of scuzz and slacker fire, it’s a guaranteed hit with Gen X and Z alike.

Standout guitar moment: Those vibrato’d two-noters at the start are pure nostalgia – we love the production on this track, which enhances the woozy vibe by shifting the riff around the speakers.

For fans of: Beabadoobee, Beck, Weezer

– Michael Astley-Brown

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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.