6 fresh guitar artists you need to hear in January 2019

(Image credit: Michael Haight)

This month we open up Throat, Emma Ruth Rundle, Those Damn Crows, Bloxx and Death Valley Girls...

Emma Ruth Rundle

A tale of two cities and one dynamic talent

Louisville, Kentucky is perishingly cold in the winter yet hot and close in summer. It is appropriate as an adopted home for Emma Ruth Rundle - a dark, dynamic guitarist who can move from folk-tinted, fi nger-pickings to tonal mass destruction in the blink of an eye.

“There seems to be a bit of confusion, even among the people that live here, as to whether this is the Mid West or the South,” acknowledges Rundle, an LA native.

“Outside there are trees that are six-stories tall, full of cicadas. It’s super-humid. When I got here, last year, it was like this and that’s when I started writing the album. So you have this beautiful nature that vanishes in winter. You could throw a glass of water into the air and it would freeze. Everything dies.”

On Dark Horses is the record borne from this polarised environment. While previous solo outing Marked For Death channeled the ragged, isolated desert locale of her label’s Pinion Hills recording studio into a starkly honest document of struggles with alcohol and mental health, this is a diff erent beast. The likes of Light Song are heavy and humid, full of fat-rounded bass and splashing chords, but there are counterweights dotted around the record, like the distant, icy-delays of Apathy On The Border.

“Where we practise, there are train tracks everywhere, you have these old abandoned factories and it’s like this foreign, bleak landscape,” says Rundle. “Then we were living in this house that’s 200 years old and everyone calls it ‘the witch house’. So we have this spooky house, a weird industrial landscape... the freezing cold. I reached a point writing Apathy On The Indiana Border where I think it got to me. I almost named the record Estranged In The Mid-West. There’s an element of being a stranger in a strange land.”

  • For fans of: Chelsea Wolfe, Big Brave 
  • Gear: Guild T-Bird, Marshall JCM900, Roland Jazz Chorus

Those Damn Crows

Classic-rocking crossover corvids

Bridgend’s Those Damn Crow’s practise a ‘less talk, more rock’ brand of grunged-up classic riffing. Big choruses, thundering toms and no-nonsense songcraft are the five-pieces’s key weapons and they use them well. 

“Chucky riffs and down muting and harmony chords,” is how guitarist Ian ‘Shiner’ Thomas explains his approach. The punchy formula has pricked the lugholes of Earache, which recently released TDC’s debut album Murder And Motive. It’s a record that’s about leaving pretension at the door, embracing the big ’n’ brash and riding down-muted lightning.

“A wall of guitar tone that punches people to the wall,” Shiner says, when asked to describe the sound in his head. “It changes by the second - it’s not a stable place, ha! But mostly it has to be powerful. [It has to] make people bang their heads and tap their feet.”

  • For fans of: Glorious Sons 
  • Gear: Gibson Les Paul, MESA/Boogie

Our Hollow, Our Home

Laying a gauntlet to grief

Four months. That is how long Toby Young had to say goodbye to his father, before losing him to cancer in 2017. Lost, Toby poured his thoughts, memories and frustrations into writing Our Hollow, Our Home’s powerful second album In Moment In Memory.

“It’s a record that I had to make,” he says. “It documents one of the most difficult periods of my life, and how I had to learn to move on with my life.” It’s an honest, pummelling and modern metal album. Searing and purgative.

“Writing songs has been a very cathartic experience for me,” reflects the guitarist. “My guitar, as lame as it sounds, has been there for me when it felt like I had nothing else... and has defi nitely helped shape me as a person, teaching me discipline and perseverance. I don’t know where I’d be without it.”

  • For fans of: Bury Tomorrow 
  • Gear: Schecter PT7, Line 6 Helix


  • Who: Finnish guitarists Jukka Mattila and Aleksis Juhakoski 
  • Sounds like: Noise-rock’s dark arts masterfully manipulated 
  • Gear: Jukka: EGC 1000S, Sovtek MIG100H; Aleksis: Japanese Fender Jaguar 
  • For fans of: Big Business, Shellac 
  • Hear: No Hard Shoulder

Death Valley Girls

  • Who: LA guitarists Bonnie Bloomgarden and Larry Schemel 
  • Sounds like: A blend of menace momentum and rattle that we’re gonna call ‘death-glam’ 
  • Gear: Bonnie: Hagstrom Futura, 70s Music Man 112RD; Larry: 72 Custom Telecaster 
  • For fans of: Ramones, New York Dolls 
  • Hear: More Dead


  • Who: London guitarists Fee Booth and Taz Sidhu 
  • Sounds like: Straight-down-the-line indie-pop making drama from the day-to-day 
  • Gear: Fee: Fender Telecaster; Taz: Fender Jazzmaster 
  • For fans of: Inheaven, Superfood 
  • Hear: Second Opinion
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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