To kick things off, we've got some news to break: after ten long and storied years of Lachlan Marks holding down the forte (to phenomenal success, if we may say ourselves), Australian Guitar has a brand new editor. Starting with issue #132, longtime contributor, editorial assistant and punk-rock fanatic Matt Doria will be taking over the reins. The handcover comes as Marks heads abroad to pursue a fruitful career in filmmaking, and continue to live his dreams as a venerable rock dog in his own right. AG will continue as it always has, delivering a world-class slate of news, reviews and interviews (both artist- and gear-related) every two months in its physical form, and every day on the interwebs.
Adorning the cover this issue is Texan fusion-blues legend Gary Clark Jr. Hot off the heels of his game-changing second album, This Land, Clark is gearing up to make 2019 the year of some monumental milestones. We talk about the political clusterf*** that inspired the album's fiery title track, the life changes that led to LP3 (or LP5, depending on how you view the discography) being Clark's most ambitious and sonically defiant release yet, and his passionate love affair with the timeless Gibson SG – plus, what to expect when the 35-year-old and his band of misfits land Down Under next month for their largest Australian tour yet.
Leading the rest of our massive spread of artist features is the one and only John Petrucci, who welcomes us to the world of the 14th (!!!) Dream Theater album, Distance Over Time – an album as raw as it is ravaging – as well as the stunning, metal-ready new models in Petrucci's signature JP Majesty guitar line with Ernie Ball Music Man. It won't be long before Dream Theater make their way back to Australian shores, but in the meantime, we're hyping up for monumental arena tours from ex-metalcore maniacs Bring Me The Horizon and local pop-rock luminary Amy Shark, our exclusive interviews proving why these are some shows you won't want to miss.
We also catch up with the king of laidback indie-blues, Kurt Vile, ahead of his appearance at Bluesfest 2019, where he'll be sharing a stage with Australian fingerstyle icon Tommy Emmanuel (who you'll find in this issue's Final Note section). Speaking of our incredible local talent, we get down to business on new albums, tours and everything else under the sun with Australian gems Julia Jacklin, Pond and Sports Bra. And rounding out the lineup are three more world-class acts with cracking new records on the table: the British pop-rock firestarters in Foals, indie-pop mainstays Girlpool and new-gen emo hellions La Dispute.
For the tenth year running, we made the trek over to LA for the annual NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) conference, where – amongst a bevy of beers, live shows and catch-ups with all our favourite shredders – we caught up on all the major equipment bombshells from some of the world's most respected guitar companies. We're talking Fender, Gibson, Marshall and Ormsby, to name just a few; wrap your head around some of the best finds we laid eyes on with our jam-packed six-page feature.
For more jealousy-inducing gear coverage, we got our hands on a stack of fresh new equipment for this issue's review section. The cream of the crop? Look above. That's a limited edition Collings City Limits Solidbody – ain't she a beauty? Well, you can read all about her in our Top Shelf review. You can also read about the slick new Ibanez AZ242F, or the ultra suave Yamaha Revstar RS720B, or the jaw-dropping (and jaw-droppingly rare) Music Ban Ball Family Reserve Axis. Or, if you're looking for something to plug your favourite axe into for stunning classic and modern sounds, feel free to drool over the Two Notes Torpedo C.A.B. M pedal we've got smack dab in the centre of page 90.
As always, we've packed Australian Guitar #132 with a heap and a half of ace lesson and advice columns. Learn to tap string-skipping arpeggios, wrap your head around the elusive 'two' chord and become a master of the CAGED system, then learn everything there is to know about cracking the key to seven-string guitars. DIY deviants will froth over this issue's Home Recording feature, where Rob Long breaks through the barriers keeping you from sounding like a true musical legend. Plus, we tap into the art of self-producing for records on a larger scale with Sleepmakeswaves guitarist (and regular AG contributor) Alex Wilson. And for those itching to flex their acoustic muscles, we're offering up the full tablature to a Green Day classic: "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)". Prepare for all of the feels.
Stuck on what new music to smack into your headphones? We've got a whole page of reviews to help make your mind up with, featuring first-hand looks at the new LPs from Hozier, PUP, Cherry Glazerr and more. We've also got the world's first review of Alex Lahey's massive new record, The Best Of Luck Club, which our editor declares is "an easy contender for 2019's Album Of The Year".
That's not even touching on the digital section of the mag, either, which features exclusive video interviews with Stuie French and Redd Volkaert; lessons based on classics by KISS, Dave Hole and Charlie Parker, and so, so much more!
Plus, we're giving one lucky reader the chance to win a state-of-the-art Zoom LiveTrak L-12 home recording console, valued at a whopping $1,300. Think you've got what it takes to become the next self-produced icon? Pick up your copy of Australian Guitar #132 and prove it to us!
Grab a copy of AG #132 from your local newsagent today, or subscribe online here!