Sonic Highways, the Foo Fighters’ eighth studio album, struggles to fulfil the promise of its really rather excellent lead single “Something For Nothing”. That’s not to say the album flopped, far from it, but it felt like a middling collection; full of intriguing playing that broadened the Foos’ horizons without delivering any truly astounding anthems.
So why is Dave Grohl one of the guitarists of the year?
Firstly, because Sonic Highways is still loaded with great riffs and crafty solos, but secondly – and more importantly – because Grohl found a way to reassert modern guitar music’s relevance. The Sonic Highways project – the idea of writing a collection of new songs inspired by eight of America’s great musical capitals – might not have produced a five star album, but it did produce some great television.
Bizarrely, while new bands struggle to get their songs played on the radio, TV commissioners are busy green lighting as many rock docs as they can get their hands on. The situation is strange to say the least. There is this big, palpable audience who want to learn about and hear rock music, but, until 2014, that audience has been exclusively force-fed nostalgia.
No longer - Dave Grohl’s eight-part documentary project with HBO was a genuine success. By involving the legends of years past and weaving rock music’s rich cultural history into the creation of something undeniably new; Grohl proved to TV execs the world over that taking a risk on a modern act, making new music can be richly rewarding.
Enter Shikari renew their archly political assault while expanding their sonic horizons on The Mindsweep.
Brutish, brazen and ungodly satisfying, Royal Blood rode a barrage of chugging bass grooves all the way to the top of the charts in 2014.
Opeth may preach exclusively to the converted, but to overlook the Swedes’ staggeringly consistent brilliance is foolhardy.
Soothing and sorrow-laden in equal measure, Lost In The Dream by The War On Drugs left Guitar Planet speechless.
Guitar Planet has had a love/hate relationship with Slash since Velvet Revolver split, but it remains impossible to deny his freewheeling riffs and slippery solos.