If guitar music has seemed like it flatlined in the past few years, then 2016 will be the year it revs back to life. With so many talented bands rising through the ranks that draw inspiration from groups ranging from Sonic Youth to American Football, the sheer scope of promising guitar bands seem poised to give everyone a little something they might enjoy.

These three bands are just a handful to watch (or discover and then kick yourself for not having been a fan before they went belly-up, in one case) in the coming months, each with something special to offer a resurgent community of people who love the versatility of the guitar.


Butter The Children

It is a shame that the first thing most people will think about Butter The Children is that they had a weird as hell name. They did. But, to slightly alter an old adage, you should never judge a band by their name (generally), because one listen to Butter The Children's 2014 EP, True Crime, will make you a believer. Songs like 'Loose' and 'Spit It Out' offer just a taste of what's in store from this band. Lead vocalist Inna Mkrtycheva possesses a voice eerily reminiscent of peak-Debbie Harry, while the guitars by Ray Weiss shred and sear through each one of the band's tracks, usually drawing upon an eclectic mix of punk, post-punk and shoegaze. Now sadly, in my research for this piece, I learned that Butter The Children is actually no longer together. So while there will, disappointingly, be nothing to come from this band in the future, their limited recorded output is great enough. I'm disappointed I never got the chance to see this band live during their prolific days in Brooklyn, but their existence is proof that amazing talent can lie unidentified right under our noses. We just need to catch it.


Curse Words

Based in the burgeoning music scene of Pittsburgh, Pa., Curse Words has a genre-defying sound that draws upon emo, math and straightforward alternative. The band's strength lies in their inventive use of off-the-wall time signatures and tempo changes, which give songs like the quirkily titled 'Don't you think it's a little odd for a man to be giving another man a pair of shoes?' a distinctive flair that is simultaneously danceable and melancholy. Comprised of vocalist and guitarist Billy Simmons, bassist Cal Tarasi and drummer Becir Paco, the group only has a handful of songs at the moment and have had their development stymied by academic obligations. But with the group together in one place for the foreseeable future, new songs are sure to crop up in the coming months that will find a place alongside their preexisting repertoire. Some members of Curse Words have not yet hit their 20s, yet their skill at generating unique sounds with their instruments and ability to craft first-rate songs is well beyond their years. With a little more time to record and hone their craft, Curse Words could find themselves on the brink of something quite substantial.


Surf Curse

The bubbly lo-fi twosome of Surf Curse has been around for several years and, on the strength of just two official releases (a demo release also exists), has made quite the name for themselves. Their list of influences and general sound can probably be guessed just from their name, but the skill and fun exuded by Jacob Rubeck and Nicholas Rattigan cannot be denied. Though both can sing and play multiple instruments, Rubeck usually assumes lead vocalist and guitarist duties while Rattigan keeps time on the drums. Surf Curse's little bundles of joy, including the exceptional 'I'm Not Making Out With You' and 'Forever Dumb', were packaged into two 2013 releases, Buds and the Sad Boys EP. It has been all silence since then, apart from some live performances, so here's hoping this fiercely talented group drops some new tunes in 2016. It could go a long away toward reminding people that the guitar is a potent tool for fun.