5 Riffs That Humans Wrote

Good day, readers. Inspired by fellow DJ Nick Myers’ late-night accusation that “all the good riffs have been written,” I give to you 5 examples of perfect riffage that will hopefully inspire the guitarists in all of us to turn up the ol’ Peavey and make something beautiful.

While this list is far from comprehensive (and totally ignores guitar solos, a totally different concept that I hope to address in a future post), I hope that it provides a good sampling of riffs for your heads to bang to.

A note: Two of these groups are playing shows in Philadelphia tonight, and if you have Facebook and a nose for guitars and basements, I bet you can find them.

 1. Sleep – Holy Mountain 

The lonely, droopy guitar line at the 4 minute mark is my jam. Last heard on John Sinclair’s show “Cosmic Debris.”

 2. Painted Ship – And She Said Yes 

Painted Ship were a legendary garage punk band from Vancouver. Active from 1965-68, they put out several dynamite 45s. 1966’s “And She Said Yes” was a ripping B-side. No bassist and a hollering lead singer is clearly the way to do things.

3. Kyuss – Size Queen 


Kyuss was the first band of Josh Homme (best known for QOTSA). This ambling, shuffling cut from 1995’s …And The Circus Leaves Town still comes up sometimes in the playlists I make for friends. Fuzz + deep tones.

 4. HOUND – Houdini 

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HOUND is a  trio that could beat up most of the other sock-hat-wearing trios you know. They have real power. Give it a listen, it’ll put hair on your chest. Their session they did with us in 2013 was positively face-melting, as I’m sure you could guess.

 5. Brown Rainbow – Psycho Filler 

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Brown Rainbow is the brainchild of Sean Reilly and Kevin Paschal. They exhibit a propensity for menacing, basement-fracturing vamps that might just make yet another millennial’s head explode. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

WKDU Philadelphia: Music for humans.