Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Guitar World
Guitar World
Michael Astley-Brown

This week's essential guitar tracks: from Smashing Pumpkins' shredding metal turn to solos from the son of a session legend

Wata of Boris

Hello, and welcome to a new Spotify playlist-embiggened Essential Guitar Tracks. As you may well know, 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.

Our goal is to give you an overview of the biggest tracks, our editor’s picks and anything you may have missed. We’re pushing horizons and taking you out of your comfort zone – because, as guitarists, that’s something we should all be striving for in our playing.

So, here are our highlights from the past seven days… now with a Spotify playlist!

The Gaslight Anthem – Positive Charge

New Jersey’s classic-rock-channelling punks are back at it with their first new single in almost a decade, and from the absolute scorcher of an overdriven lick that smacks you in the face before frontman Brian Fallon even gets a word in, it’s clear that they’re out for blood. (JM)

The Smashing Pumpkins – Harmageddon

For a band now blessed with three outstanding guitarists, Smashing Pumpkins’ 33-track rock opera Atum is frustratingly synth-heavy. But when the alt-rock icons do let the axes loose, the results are more metallic than ever before. This guitar highlight channels Judas Priest in its NWOBHM chug, and features a blistering Billy Corgan lead that harks back to Siamese Dream. (MAB)

Nils Lofgren – Ain’t the Truth Enough

Every guitarist and their grandmother will tell you that "serving the song" is the most important thing to do as a player. Given that he plays in the long-serving backing bands of not one, but two, of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time – Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen – few are better at this than Nils Lofgren, who serves his haunting new solo single, Ain't the Truth Enough, with mournful, singing slide licks that paint as vivid a picture as Lofgren's lyrics. (JM)

Rory Gallagher – Continental Op (Live At The Town & Country Club, London, UK / 1990)

Part of a new collection of unreleased material, All Around Man – Live In London, this raucous performance finds Gallagher unleashing quicksilver slide leads and fiery pentatonic fury in support of what would be his final studio album, 1990’s Fresh Evidence. (MAB)

The Dirty Nil – Celebration

Kicking off with a pinch-loaded riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on an ’80s Ozzy album, Celebration marks a distinctly heavier turn from the Canadian punk-rock trio. It’s Marshalls-on-11 stuff. (MAB)

Voyager – Prince of Fire

The Australian prog band take on the bizarre perma-tanned pageantry that is the Eurovision song competition later this month. Prince of Fire showcases what they do best: big, grinding riffs and beautiful, bombastic melody. Set your pomp pedal to max. (MP)

Trev Lukather – The Sound

The first single from Trev – yes, son of Steve – Lukather’s upcoming debut solo album is a soaring ’80s arena rock power-ballad updated for today, not least by the appearance of an Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent model, whose whammy bar Lukather uses to deploy some wildly vocal phrasing. (MAB)

Boris and Uniform – You Are the Beginning

A collaboration between the long-running Japanese trio Boris and New York industrial metallers Uniform, You Are the Beginning sits at a gloriously filthy crossroads between thrash, punk, and pure noise, and is played out by a gonzo, ‘how is a wrist capable of that?’ solo that’ll have Michael Angelo Batio looking in his rearview mirror. (JM)

Bring Me the Horizon – LosT

The genre-bending British metalcore phenomenon turn their hand to pop-punk in this radio-friendly banger. With high-energy powerchords bolted to a chopped-up breakdown, it’s My Chemical Romance for the Spotify generation. (MAB)

Friendship Commanders – Fail

Co-produced by Kurt Ballou – a byword for gloriously filthy tones – this three-and-a-half minute riff blast from the Nashville heavy duo melds the worlds of ’90s grunge and contemporary sludge-metal in seamless, devastating fashion. (MAB)

Legss – Fester

London Sprechgesang practitioners will skewer you with their words, courtesy of Ned Green’s alternately louche and lacerating vocal. However, Green’s work with co-guitarist Max Oliver takes you on a more dynamic journey, chiming in and out of distorted euphoria amid screeching harmonics and rumbling rhythmic undercurrents. (MP)

Bethany Cosentino – It’s Fine 

With her band, Best Coast, on indefinite hiatus, Bethany Cosentino has struck out on her own with It’s Fine, a self-assured song that exchanges the sun-kissed surf-pop with which she made her name for an engaging country-rock strut made all the more irresistible by tasty, twangy, Southern-fried funk leads that complement the song perfectly. (JM)

M.A.G.S. – Sins

Like Bartees Strange and Willow, M.A.G.S. is part of a new wave of guitar-wielding singer-songwriters unafraid to switch up genres on a dime, and Sins draws a through-line between driving indie rock and post-hardcore breakdowns that’s bound to thrill fans of both. (MAB)

ROMES – Choker

An infectious, pacey new single from the Toronto duo’s forthcoming third album. The chorus recalls Cleopatrick’s chaotic, distorted rock-update, while there are a heap of nu-metal inspired tonal touchstones threaded throughout. (MP)

Like Moths to Flames – I Found The Dark Side of Heaven

This slice of savagery from the Ohio metalcore heavyweights is relentless in its brutality. Crushing breakdowns. Whammy squeals. Gojira pick scapes. All wrapped up in a wall of death-ready tone. (MAB)

The Hives – Bogus Operandi

A band as flamboyant as The Hives can’t just come back with any old song as their first new track in over a decade, and indeed Bogus Operandi has a meaty central riff that – with a big, irrepressible hook and Iommi-like power – will have its claws in you in no time. (JM)

Coach Party – All I Wanna Do is Hate

In the wake of Wet Leg’s international explosion, the Isle of Wight has suddenly become the hotspot of UK rock, and Wet Leg tourmates Coach Party should be next on your radar: All I Wanna Do is Hate taps into the ’90s grunge-pop revival, but abrasive chords and acerbic leads sharpen its edge to a punk sheen. (MAB)

Lifeguard - 17-18 Lovesong

Woozy and yet bracingly noisy in places, Lifeguard skip a merry line between drone and destruction, though admittedly, they don’t sound very merry doing it. Expect jarring harmonics, Wire-y melody and shuffling beats. (MP)

Infected Rain – Dying Light

Moldovan metalcore favorites Infected Rain adopt a Korn aesthetic – both in their guttural extended-range sonics and a fine line in dreadlocks – but it’s mutated via an injection of prog-metal riff DNA and eerie electronics. (MAB)

The Durutti Column - Pigeon (remastered)

Influential UK indie guitarist Vini Reilly’s 1998 album Time Was Gigantic… When We Were Kids is being treated to the full remaster treatment, with five new bonus tracks. This new mix of Pigeon sounds superb, all cut-glass delays and watery ambience. (MP)

Funkwrench Blues featuring Sadler Vaden – Crush 

Jason Isbell gets a lot of (well-deserved) press for his guitar skills, but his six-string sidekick, Sadler Vaden, is just as unique and distinct a player as he is – just listen to how much mileage he gets out of the first note he plays on Crush, a new instrumental track that sees Vaden backed by Funkwrench Blues. (JM)

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.