michael landau

Serving up our editors’ eclectic selections from the year’s musical smorgasbord, and looking toward their most anticipated releases for 2019.

Call it a sonic smorgasbord, a recorded cornucopia, a mélange of melody, an aural abbondanza.…

Well, you get the idea. There were a lot of great recordings released in 2018. And while hip-hop and country continued to rule the charts, the electric crackle of creativity came from all corners—including our guitar-centric sector of the musical universe. Veteran artists and relative newcomers rub elbows among our editors’ picks for best albums, from country to metal to skronk to alt-rock to classic reissues to world music to dreamscape portraiture.

What’s interesting—at least to us, and hopefully to you as well—is that there is literally no overlap among our choices. Eight editors, 20 different albums. And sure, while we enjoyed and shared the experience of listening to many of the same recordings, these are the ones that found a genuine place in our hearts. Maybe some of these titles have found or will find their place in yours as well?

So read on, and we look forward to seeing your own picks for 2018, and your wish lists for 2019, in the comments section. Oh yeah … and Happy New Year!

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Intermediate

Beginner

  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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Playing in the pocket is the most important thing in music. Just think about how we talk about great music: It's "grooving" or "swinging" or "rocking." Nobody ever says, "I really enjoyed their use of inverted suspended triads," or "their application of large-interval pentatonic sequences was fascinating." So, whether you're playing live or recording, time is everyone's responsibility, and you must develop your ability to play in the pocket.
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Julien Baker on the Pedal That “Saved My Butt!” & Heroes Yvette Young & Jann Wasner | The Big 5

Plus, hear why her butterscotch Tele is still her go-to guitar.

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