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From psychedelic wah odysseys to oceanic soundscapes: here are this week's essential guitar tracks

Erja Lyytinen performs on stage at The Blues in Hell Festival on September 03, 2021 in Stjordal, Norway
(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/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.

Erja Lyytinen – Bad Seed

What is it? The gutsy lead single from the Finnish guitarist’s forthcoming album, Waiting for the Daylight. With DNA from a variety of sources, Bad Seed’s far from a by-the-numbers, truck commercial blues-rock stomper.

Standout guitar moment: The blistering, perfectly-attacked ascending run in the song’s solo – which has more in common with Yngwie Malmsteen than B.B. King. Lyytinen’s never been a traditionalist, possessing a musical independent streak that’s always served her material well. Bad Seed is no exception in that regard.

For fans of: Larkin Poe, Walter Trout, Joanne Shaw Taylor

Jackson Maxwell

Buñuel – Roll Call

What is it? A double-time noise punk jam from what, loosely, could be called a noise-rock supergroup but then noise-rock supergroup sounds like an oxymoron. This is one of those songs that sounds like it starts fast and accelerates, like some avant-garde one-take movie shot over an evening in Europe (the David Lynch-inspired video offers a thrilling glimpse into how that might play out). 

The guitar, courtesy of Xabier Iriondo of Afterhours is a fusillade of 16th-notes, the whole song a platform for rhythm, and forward motion, over which Eugen Robinson (Oxbow).

Standout guitar moment: It’s all rhythm guitar. The standout guitar moment is when the song terminates after two minutes and 40 minutes, when you realize that you can actually hold your breath that long, that Iriondo is so unerringly accurate.

For fans of: Afterhours, Årabrot, Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk

– Jonathan Horsley

Julian Lage – Auditorium

What is it? A new track from one of today’s standout jazz guitarists Julian Lage, who recently announced that his next studio album, View With A Room, will be arriving this September. It comes less than a year after his previous effort – the stellar six-string masterclass that is Squint –  and if Auditorium is anything to go by, Lage’s next effort will be just as good, if not better.

Standout guitar moment: What came first, the chicken or the egg? To pick a standout guitar moment from any Lage track is nigh on impossible, and it’s no surprise that Auditorium poses a similar problem. Having said that, we got particularly excited at the solo that follows the 1:00 mark. Pure, perfect Lage.

For fans of: John Scofield, George Benson

Matt Owen

Bad Wolves – The Body

What is it? A brand-new single from LA metallers Bad Wolves. Described as a “fun track that feels like a mix of Faith No More with a dash of Daft Punk”, The Body finds guitarists Doc Coyle and Max Karon issuing a stellar selection of drop-tuned guitar riffs, while vocalist Daniel "DL" Laskiewicz – former Acacia Strain guitarist – serves up a barrage of earworm vocal hooks.

Standout guitar moment: Doc Coyle’s solo from the 2:47 mark is far from virtuosic, but its drawn-out squeals and tasteful phrasing fit the song perfectly.

For fans of: HELLYEAH, Fozzy, Godsmack

Sam Roche

Hyper Planet – To Live with Wisdom

What is it? The Dream Theater poster in the background of the video is something of a tell but even before you see that, this prog-metal band from Iran tells us what’s going down with laudable efficiency, settling down into a pocket of musically audacious arrangements, with Amin Saffar’s guitar showcasing a videogamified shred style. The melodies land. to uplifting melodic ideas. This you could hear working in a Tokyo arcade.

Standout guitar moment: Amin Saffar’s guitar picking up the baton from his father, Mohammad Ali Saffar, on the santur/qanun. A traditional stringed instrument of the struck zither family yielding to an Ibanez with Bare Knuckle humbuckers, and yet it makes sense, and within a few choice phrases Saffar as sketched out the aesthetic boundaries of the song.

For fans of: Dream Theater, Devin Townsend

– Jonathan Horsley

Momma – Motorbike

What is it? This up-and-coming band’s third album, Household Name, is out today (July 1), and from what we’ve heard it’s primed to make this band, well, a household name. We absolutely loved lead single Medicine, and Motorbike is another headbang-inducing highlight from the album.

Standout guitar moment: Momma have a formidable arsenal of buzzy opening riffs with razor-sharp hooks. Try to get the one that powers Motorbike out of your head, we dare you.

For fans of: Charly Bliss, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins

Jackson Maxwell

Dayglow – And Then It All Goes Away

What is it? The new single from US retro pop aficionado and bedroom producer Sloan Struble – aka – Dayglow – who further demonstrates his penchant for all things ‘80s with the chorus-drenched, groove-seasoned toe-tapper that is And Then It All Goes Away. Simply put, it’s one of Struble’s best tracks yet, and we wouldn’t be shocked if the album that inevitably follows the single surprasses the immensely high bar that Dayglow set with his first two albums, Harmony House and Fuzzybrain.

Standout guitar moment: We’re all suckers for some syncopated six-string lead lines, so those see-sawing post-chorus melodies – which are dressed in a delicious amount of chorus – hit the spot perfectly.

For fans of: The 1975, Wallows, Alfie Templeman

Matt Owen

Cave In – The Hole

What is it? Townes Van Zandt as reimagined by a band who have forever resisted easy categorization, their sound perched somewhere between metal, hardcore and alternative rock/metal, whose artistry with guitar noise blurs the lines till genres don’t matter anymore. 

Returning with Heavy Pendulum after the tragic death of bassist/vocalist Caleb Scofield in 2018 was a triumph. This cover is a great example of how they can adapt their sound to divine the quintessence of another artist’s songwriting and yet make it their own.

Standout guitar moment: Lead guitarist Stephen Brodsky has long been an advocate of pitch-shifting devices such as Boss PS-3 compact powerhouse and the cult classic DigiTech Space Station – a favorite around these parts. 

The lead breaks that punctuate this cover twist electric guitar into new forms, calling to mind a synthesized woodwind instrument where a straight guitar solo would just seem too straight, and it leaves the track's atmosphere intact. 

For fans of: Townes Van Zandt, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Chelsea Wolfe

– Jonathan Horsley

Miss May I – Earth Shaker

What is it? A crushing new single from Ohio metalcore bruisers, Miss May I. A glimpse of the band’s upcoming album, Curse Of Existence – which arrives in September – Earth Shaker sports a fitting title, as it thrusts forth with a deluge of rapid-fire palm-muted guitar riffs and typically modern metalcore-esque chorus section that’ll be stuck in your head for days.

Standout guitar moment: Like much of today’s metalcore, there’s limited lead guitar work, but the song stands tall on its head-spinning riff work alone.

For fans of: Bury Tomorrow, The Devil Wears Prada, We Came As Romans

Sam Roche

Sonic Flower – Swineherd

What is it? Sonic Flower are a psych/blues-oriented offshoot of Japanese doom metal stalwarts Church of Misery. Swineherd is the unrelentingly awesome lead single and opener from the band’s upcoming album, Me And My Bellbottom Blues.

Standout guitar moment: Where do we start? From its barreling opening riff, which sounds ready to start a barroom brawl, to Fumiya Hattori’s incredible double-tracked solo – a veritable wah odyssey – Swineherd is an embarrassment of six-string riches.

For fans of: Black Label Society, Motörhead, Matt Pike

Jackson Maxwell

Day Wave – Blue

What is it? Nearly four minutes of oceanic, atmospheric guitar-driven bliss, which is lifted from US indie rock project Day Wave’s latest album, Pastlife. It’s a textural tapestry of the highest order, recruiting nuanced upper-string motifs, vocalized melodies and moody chord progressions drowning in reverb that all amalgamate to form one of the the smoothest listens we’ve heard in a long time.

Standout guitar moment: Blue is all about selective songwriting chops rather than OTT fretboard acrobatics, so the easy-going upper-fret melodies that dance around the ‘board during the intro get our vote.

For fans of: Soccer Mommy, Hovvdy, KennyHoopla

Matt Owen

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Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.