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Deap Vally Pick the 10 Sickest Guitar Riffs in Rock History

Deap Vally
Stevie Dacanay

Up to now, Deap Vally have just been teasing us. Next week (Oct. 8), after a pair of tasty singles and string of blistering live sets on big stages across the globe, the L.A. duo finally releases its full-length debut, ‘Sistrionix,’ and judging by lead single ‘End of the World,’ the disc is a cavalcade of fuzzy guitar and chugging rhythms headed straight for your skull. Clearly, Deap Vally founders Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards are riff doctors of the highest order, and in advance of ‘Sistrionix,’ they put their expertise to good use and made this list of the 10 sickest guitar licks in rock history. Scroll down for their picks and explanations.

‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’



Such a classic and addictive opening verse riff that the vocal melody echoes.


‘A Whole Lotta Love’

Led Zeppelin


An obvious choice, but we would be remiss in leaving this one out because this is, after all, one of the great riffs of all time.

‘Down by the River’

Neil Young



Young is the king of taste and proves with the solo in this song that it takes very few notes to be a genius.



‘Icky Thump’

The White Stripes


Mad points for creativity! That guitar sounds like bagpipes or an organ. It keeps the tension high and the riffology fresh.

‘Death Letter Blues’

Son House


This is all riff and no fluff, using only an acoustic guitar to create all the narrative, all the percussion, all the simple drama of the song. So good.

‘Iron Man’


This is one of the filthiest, raunchiest guitar riffs of all time, and Toni Iomme is missing the tips of two of his fingers. F—ing badass.

‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’


The opening song on their latest album, ‘Like Clockwork…” this song comes in slow and menacing like the footsteps of an approaching beast … a beast that will make you weak in the knees.

‘Star-Spangled Banner’

Jimi Hendrix


Jimmy’s transformation of a stale American classic into a filthy, wailing, hedonistic beast of a tune is one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.



Nick Zinner has one of the coolest playing styles of all times. He is the master of melody, tasteful simplicity and ingenuity. This riff in this song is one of the greatest album opener of all times.


Tame Impala


The main riff in this song is so simple yet so tasty, and the tone of the guitar is like my wet dream. The solo in this song is otherworldly. I can only dream of one day writing something this mystifying.

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