Bands either got paid in cash or spaghetti — that was basically the deal when it came to church shows. When I first met Luxury, it was in a cafeteria attached to a youth hall somewhere in the Atlanta burbs. They didn't look particularly pleased about the arrangement, but exchanged polite hellos with me and a friend from a message board. We all ate spaghetti under fluorescent lights.
But then Luxury did what they'd always done: recklessly rock the heck out of the space, no matter the venue. Riffs exploded from both sides of the stage at ridiculous volume, sass poured out of the band's crooning/snearing frontman and drums were hit with a John Bonham-like intensity. In 1999, Luxury had just released its third album, which was self-titled — something far more ambitious and studio-driven than the Britpop- and Dischord punk-obsessed output before. Radiohead's OK Computer had just come out two years prior, which felt like a challenge to anyone up for it. This small-town Georgia band had found its own way into beautifully tense sheets of sound and, for that reason among many, Luxury remains one of my favorite albums of all time.
Still, though, there's something about the first two Luxury records — Amazing & Thank You (1995) and The Latest & The Greatest (1996) — that captures an unruly punk poetry that I haven't really heard since. The snarling sweet bite of "Flaming Youth Flames On," the waltzing bummer of "Bitter, Once Again," the slow build of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" — songs seared into memory. So when the band asked me to write a few words about these albums for a pair of vinyl reissues via Burnt Toast Vinyl, there was no way I could say no:
Punk rock is mischievous and confrontational by nature, but so rarely does the music bewilder. Luxury nestled into an unexplored nexus of dreamy chaos and coifed dandyism, charged with a pretty-boy trickster spirit and Southern Gothic mystery. In these shimmering and shattered songs full of youthful rage, confusion and melancholy, there is also a pearl of the divine, waiting to be uncovered.
Luxury continues to be a band off and on, mostly gathering in the studio when three of the members aren't tending to their flock as Orthodox priests (no, really, there's a documentary about it), but I'm thrilled to finally see these early records on vinyl for the first time. —Lars Gotrich
Luxury, "Flaming Youth Flames On"
High Rise, "Outside Gentiles"
Marek Pospiezalski, "Matuszak"
Bad Operation, "What Keeps Us Moving"
Speedy Ortiz, "You S02"
Two Inch Astronaut, "Spank Jail"
Radiator Hospital, "Reason 2 B"
Spirit Adrift, "I Shall Return"
Crossed Hearts, "Ruminating"
Dirtnap, "The Fear"
Hot Earth, "Breeding Another Disease"
Oceanator, "Part Time"
Patio, "En Plein Air"
NØ MAN, "Poison Darts"
Grave Saddies, "Willie Nelson Golfing Dream #3"
Laure Boer, "Lapin"
Gunn Truscinski Nace, "On Lamp"
Maroulita de Kol, "The Tree"
LN, "Another Love Song"
The Julies, "Symmetry"
Amanda X, "Eight Ball"
Matana Roberts, "unbeknownst"
Dustin Wong, "Audumla Thaw"|
Kristen Nogues, "Pinvidik Eoi Va C'hemener"
Arnold Dreyblatt, "Flight Path"
the fun years, "tape over your l.e.d."
Nilotpal Das & Bios Contrast, "Studio Suicide, 2021"