Thursday, September 25, 2008

The New Luxury Wafers

Hi Luxury Lovers,
Luxury Wafers is finally cruising along at higher altitudes.....Please go to the new site (click on the icon box below)
and take a look around. You'll see new and improved features all the time. Lots of changes fast.
If you find something out of whack or have suggestions for improvement, don't be shy - we welcome your input!
Email us:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oops, Temporary Chaos...

Hello Wafer lovers,
We at Luxury Wafers have been working nearly around the clock to bring you the new version of our site. It will offer easier navigation and more content, among other things.
We've had some temporary difficulties.
For now, go to to see the new site and new content, too.
Hopefully within the next 24 hours you'll be able to use or to get your Wafer fix.
Thanks for your patience

Monday, September 15, 2008

Marcus Very Ordinary, Live@Chessvolt Studios

String trio Marcus Very Ordinary played a sparse live set in the studio, striding the dark, atonal side. This would be nice music for mud bathing in a swamp, among other more traditional listening venues.
The group cites Tom Waits and Randy Newman as influential to their music. You can hear the Waits influence in their jazzy, minor arrangements strung with curious, sometimes eerie lyrics. Singer Jojo's strong voice harkens a moody Ben Harper in quality, leaking elements of a naughty, restrained, tightly-wound internal world in character.
Slug Fest and Billions, additionally adorned with piano, evoke Randy Newman meets Queen in song structure and feel.
Overall, Marcus Very Ordinary paints a weird, pokey picture reminiscent of Halloween in a French Quarter parlor. Listen more than once. It makes your skin itch and could possibly cause fever. You'll see what I mean:

Freak Out
Hell to Pay
Killing the Horse
Slug Fest

"Sometimes Marcus feels the pressures of a very closed-minded world coming down on him."
from their myspace page

Sunday, September 7, 2008

James Jackson Toth, Aquarium Drunkard Sessions, Live@Chessvolt

On the 1st stretch of their trip, the 5 members of James Jackson Toth's touring band are still adjusting to being crammed with their gear into a little modern family van they rented in San Fransisco.
Fiddling with pedals, cables and batteries, the big sweet teddy bear of a guy, James Jackson, patiently goes through a list out loud of ways to streamline their set-up in the 40-odd days that will follow.
This easygoing attitude is an unexpected surprise. The press picture we saw before meeting James depicted him as potentially psycho-scary ... like, lock up your women, booze and anything that could be construed as a weapon. And although his demeanor is of true penetrating warmth, curiously James is still a guy you get the feeling you just wouldn't want to tangle with.

James Jackson Toth - Aquarium Drunkard Sessions at ChessVolt Studios - "My Paint" from Aquarium Drunkard on Vimeo.
It's in the mood of his songs. Killer, killer songs that are fluid yet tightly coordinated at the same time. James Jackson Toth and his band, the Type A Negatives, sound like old Stones on edge in a big bad way.
Toth mock-jesting offers that his songs are "all about evil.....and the redemption that follows".
The darkness of his music intrigues. Toth invites you to swim around in a languid, perhaps dangerous, inner realm with his music where it feels murky good, like a mud bath from the inside out. He delivers the goods reminiscent of Jagger circa 1968: both sexy and haunting, wild and exhilirating while simultaneously sedative.
It takes a few good listens to make out the lyrics to his energetic My Paint, a compellingly badass tune referencing a horse. Do What You Can urges earthy passion. And Look In On Me, with the harmonies of his wife and bandmate, Jessie Lynn, has a Little Feat feeling thrown in to this visceral love song in which he delivers the line, "...sometimes I think I'd rather go blind if I can't be yours and you can't be mine...".

The band is: James Jackson Toth on guitar and lead vocals; Jexie Lynn Toth on vocals and keys;
Shayde Sartin on bass (his traveling funky Vox Teardrop ala Fat Dog in Berkeley) and vocals; Wymond Miles on Fender Jaguar, keys and vocals; and Richard Gowen on drums and vocals.

Listen to/download the Tracks:
My Paint
Do What You Can
Look In On Me

James Jacskson Toth's record, Waiting in Vain, is out on Ryko.
James Jackson Toth on Myspace

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Robert Francis @ the Long Beach Festival

What a great surprise at the Long Beach Blues Festival!
Amazingly soulful young Robert Francis and his band gave an energetic and gripping performance Saturday afternoon. Tapped into a deep root, Francis plays and sings who he is, representing folk here in true form.
A prodigiously talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Francis took the stage singing and playing guitar, backed by all-star players.
His music simply cuts to the core, an enjoyable yet haunting mirror of tucked away dark places.

Check out his NPR interview in which he shares about his family, his heavy connection to Townes Van Zandt and
his own music as a way to keep him from "completely losing his mind" rather than a mission to help others.

One by One is his new album.

Little Girl

Robert Francis on MySpace

We can't wait to hear what Robert Francis has in store for us next.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Old to new, Pinetop's still got it going on.

Tickling the keys at this year's sunny Long Beach Blues Festival was a sweet piece of living history, a guy born in 1913, one of the last living blues greats.
Pinetop Perkins replaced legendary piano player Otis Spann in Muddy Waters' band in 1969. He played with Muddy for twelve years. In 1980 he and other Waters alumni formed the Legendary Blues Band.
This cat has been around for a long time. He even has a state marker in his name by the side of the road in Mississippi.
What's impressive about Pinetop, though, is not just that he's alive at nearly a hundred years old or even that he plays at this age. Or that he still looks so good.....Man! It's that he is very much alive and turned on. His playing is tender and friendly, evoking a quilt of community and reverence as he delivers classic songs in a mellow, settled way.
Pinetop knows how to ride the crest of the wave. He's 95 years old. He tours, plays piano and sings. He has a website with digital downloads and a MySpace page with YouTube videos. He records. In his 80s, he went solo. His new release, Pinetop Perkins and Friends, is coming out on Telarc in June 2008.

I came to the festival today to see Pinetop.
Early on, I decided I probably wouldn't get a chance to meet him in person.
But then i felt it about an hour after his set -that scientifically unacnowledged sense that someone's attention is focused on you. I turned to see Pinetop pointing directly at me. Totally out of the blue. I did one of those movie scene bits, scanning over my shoulder to see if it was actually I he meant. Boy did i feel it. Everything around me stood still and i walked right to him. His mojo was working strong.
Perhaps a bit of a scoundrel like Muddy, his charm is hypnotic. He reached out to me and said 'I like you, pretty girl'. He gently took my hand in his, a customary introduction, and we just held hands there for some long minutes.
His hands are sensitive and firm, his fingers long and soft. Guitarist buddy Bob Margolin warned me later to watch those hands of Pinetop's which like to travel.
We locked eyes. The brown was right here with me, the blue layer beckoned company from a time afar. I tried for something like conversation - we covered his great performance and where he was headed next - then he declared he wanted to steal me away. My husband turned up and that's when, i swear, those mesmerizing eyes - big blue and brown rings with hugely dilated pupils - turned off and Pinetop looked away. He'd had enough. Party over.

Check out his story and more:

A snippet of How Long

Luxury Grace's comments: "I like his tie."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fat Dog's World Famous Subway Guitars, Berkeley 8/23/08

We floated in on a buzzing cloud at the tail end of a mammoth road trip to Berkeley with the sole purpose of encountering Fat Dog and his World Famous Subway Guitar Shop. It couldn't have been a nicer day or a better way to drop into the Fat Dog alternate universe. We first spotted his illustrious cloud-painted building in its pleasant neighborhood, a gentle yet noticable beacon of friendliness in accepting white-bread liberal-land. The parking was easy enough, and in what seemed to be random order, we pulled up directly behind the Fat Dog mobile, a cloud-painted vintage hunk of iron. Strolling into the old shop jarred the senses - we were greeted by a friendly giant in a cloud-painted t-shirt that said 'Berkeley' in a rainbow across the chest. The room dripped with frankensteined guitars and assorted other string instruments, additionally adorned by funky amplifiers and posters akimbo. Blues infusing the airspace, it felt like we had stepped into an obsessive collector's living room a half-dollar ago.
Fat Dog's vibe is kind and welcoming. He's a jolly soul who likes clouds and rainbows, Howlin' Wolf and Buddy Guy, and of course, guitars.
He collects them, builds them, modifies and repairs them.
Several times in the hour or so we were there he eagerly urged patrons to take down his creations and play.
Delighted pride danced in his icy blue eyes as the room filled with captivated shoppers who were there for the experience as much as the string instruments.
In conversation, he reminds me of my dear younger brother who has always tapped into peace and love and dropped waaaay too much acid at one time in his life. Fat Dog's excitement is unbounded and the discourse seemingly unfiltered.
His streaming consciousness alluvially revealed his love for Chester (Howlin' Wolf) and fascination with musical days of yore. We learned he has a ranch outside of Berkeley where he's fashioned a juke joint recording studio with 'pre-1963 everything'. Peering into a window of space invisible to our average eyes, there was talk of something about 30's and 40's cars lining the path to the joint where players would go to drink and party before engaging in a hearty jam session, a seemingly romantic reflection on a fond memory that ended with, " and they never come back..."

Here's his website: Fat Dog's World Famous Subway Guitars

Fat Dog's strange world goes on and on and on.

Oh, and you can buy a bike, too! Tuning into the present, Fat Dog thinks saving the planet is a pretty good idea.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Molino, Live@Chessvolt 8/12/08

Molino is a motley assemblage of four interesting musicians who come together and create thoroughly spaced out music in a marvelous way.
Cliff on bass, Suki on keys, Jason on drums and Abraham, the creator, on guitar and extremely David Byrne-esque vocals - they play songs that are kind of about love - sucky love - and freedom that isn’t so a relationship in which you're not really sure if you're in or out - all with a sticky rhythm like the gum on the bottom of your shoe on a hot afternoon. Between the vibe that suggests Talking Heads, B52s and Buddy Holly and the way they ride a groove to the edge of Pink Floyd, Molino is intriguing, relaxing and exhilirating at once, like a cat in and out of a paper bag.
The song, Everybody, opens reminiscent of Simple Minds' tune from The Breakfast Club.
At a short 5 minutes, its easy repetition feels open, like standing stripped at the edge of the ocean.
Salvation is an experience unto itself. The bass groove vibrates so deep you think maybe your tire’s blown, but in this state it wouldn’t really matter. Rushing trippy keys fly through like epiphaneal cracks of light. It sounds like the first sparks of life in a dark crisp universe.
The unhurried 8 minute lead-in gives way to a celebratory, revelatory jam galore that
culminates in a joyous release, returning to a spaced out but crunchy, charged, confusing satisfaction, all of which ends with a tiny revelatory reprise.
Think 2001, A Space Odyssey.
Space. Lots of space. Molino will give you the space to enjoy their nice ride.
Check out their upcoming Silverlake shows.
Everybody Needs Somebody

Molino on Myspace

Monday, August 11, 2008

Austin Hartley-Leonard, Live@Chessvolt 8/11/08

He’s witty, smart, polite and charming. Clean cut and well-kempt, a bit of edge and some interesting twists. Austin Hartley-Leonard recently graced Chessvolt Studios, playing acoustic guitar and singing his original songs backed by buddy and bandmate, Matt Ramsey, on tenor banjo and vocal harmonies.
Influenced by Ryan Adams, Austin Hartley-Leonard (his name is a mouthful that goes back to his grandmother who hyphenated way-back-when) writes memorable songs with a pretty wholesome vibe - aside from an occasional yet nicely enunciated ‘fuck’ (Heroes). His sweet melodies accompanied by guitar, banjo, harmonica and even whistling (On Top of My Shoulders) emit an organic vibe packaged in a golden honey glow. All of the elements that make a song a good song are present in his writing. But his clever lyrics, like ‘drinking beer and sneaking Flinstone vitamins,’ meet up with a certain presence in his voice that keep his songs interesting, unpredictable enough and real, as in not yesterday.
Austin joked about breaking new ground by writing songs about girls and ‘the man keeping him down.’

Autobiographical and far from corny, it really works for him.
After his set, Austin kindly shared candidly about his evolution as a musician/songwriter. He described his process of writing as real work, an endeavor that at times suggests multiple mental illnesses, in special moments flows with inspiration, ultimately alluring and rewarding as a practice.
To hear him talk about writing, his first instrument, favorite foods and the easiest tattoo he’s ever gotten, check out the Austin Hartley-Leonard Interview podcast.
His album will be released on iTunes September 9th, 2008. The party’s at Hotel CafĂ©, 9 pm. Go. You won’t be disappointed.
On Top of My Shoulders
Little Latin Girl
Sunday Morning
On Top of My Shoulders - Acoustic Version

Austin Hartley-Leonard on Myspace

EXTREEEEEME Sunday - Luxury Wafers heads to Magic Mountain

Sunday was the day. Clear and sunny. We arrived shortly after the park opened and rushed to stand in line for 2 hours to kick the day off with a ride on the new X2 Rollercoaster. Sick. Prepare yourself. Watch the video - perspective from the front seat........


That was the sound of sheer terror. I feel like I sent my seven year-old off to war. I worried after the fact (like any reasonable parent would) that she might have ended up with a serious case of PTSD requiring years and tens of thousands in therapy to get right.

My head still pounds. Days later.
From riding the kiddie coasters.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I am the worlds biggest chicken.
I broke into a cold sweat and tears at the prospect of being flung through the air at top speed upside down and backward, falling face first with shitty fear music pounding in my ears.

Check out the big-drop Goliath Coaster below...

Lucky for us the economy has sucked, so outside of the X2, there were hardly any lines.
Much fun was had: a few bitten tongues, various headaches, a fair share of sunburn, bellies full of frozen lemonade and other assorted trash - your typical aberrant American cultural celebration.

It's Wednesday now. Luxury Wafers is back to work. A bottle of Advil and a few more live sessions behind us, we've got new stuff to post. I promise to get it to ya ASAP.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mack Winston & the Reflections, Live@Chessvolt 7/29/08

Mack Winston & the Reflections: Mack, Ben, Jesse, Sweet Joey, Brady

"For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, Bob Dylan challenges Jeff Lynne to a game of Pac-Man in the green room at the Ed Sullivan Theater." That was Peter's description of the band's track, Dark Dark Night.

An adaptation of a famous operatic orchestral interlude written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1899 swarms the opening of the song like a dizzy hive of drunken bees that just got stirred up. It's a brilliant composition with all of the elements to keep you eager for more till the last drop of the song.

Brady with his kick-ass '64 Gretsch bass

Mack Winston's clever lyrics are dappled with 4-syllable words, and the combination of his alluring voice with strong rhythm section and the sweet extra compliment of Jesse, the keyboardist, on the house B3, concocts a hunger for the songs that creeps under your skin. There's even a hint of the Doors (could it be that's just because Ben, the guitarist, slightly resembles that guy......what was his name?...).

Mack on the Flying V Sweet Joey on drums

Anyway, this is rock 'n' roll, no foolin' around. Intelligent, aesthetically pleasing, the real deal.

Awesome guys, too. We could have hung around all night, a few enjoying their ride on the NightTrain Express, geeking out about gear and enjoying the company.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Renee & Jeremy, Live@Chessvolt 7/31/08

Mellifluous tunes with valerian undertones ooze naturally from the 'songcatching' team, Renee and Jeremy. They are a vibrant and complimentary pair, like salt & pepper or bacardi & ice: Renee supplies the smooth, Jeremy adds the energetic and together they bring the fun, in a comfy, feel-good way.
Renee's voice is velvety melted chocolate you wouldn't mind having smeared all over your skin. Jeremy is the foundational sunshine, playing guitar and offering vocals from a whisper to an occasional lead. Together, they are a bomb of enveloping warm enthusiasm, delivering uplifting messages in a lullaby format. Their songs simply put forth a raw, compassionate truth applicable to 'kids of all ages,' as they say.
According to the number of years I've been around, I'm technically a grown-up. I must admit I relate to the songs of Renee & Jeremy. They possess an addictive, narcotic quality, in a healthy kind of way. Not only have I been humming the tune and singing the lyrics to 'Share' since Renee & Jeremy graced us at Chessvolt, but I also know I keep returning to them for their piercing accuracy. They sneakily unclothe hidden layers of univeral feelings with their mesmerizing tunes. And then there's the whole vibe. Renee's maternal magnetism grabs at you. After their set, I could hardly resist the urge to settle into her lap for a snuggle and some applesauce. Our seven year-old daughter, captivated from the beginning, insisted we open their CD, it's a big world, and listen right away.

Recording notes: Simple and sweet. For Jeremy's Gibson acoustic, we used a KM88. For his vocals, the Shure SM7 was his preference. On Renee, we used the Neumann U87.

Listen here (option/click to download):
Night Mantra
Is It Really Any Wonder?
We Are One

The Bowmans, Live@Chessvolt 7/31/08

The Bowmans: Sarah and Claire

These adorable girls are sweet as sunshine and mind-bogglingly talented. Don't let their innocuous laughter or their air of innocence fool you: The Bowmans, who have shared a rhythm since conception, are dead-on. Creating a rich sound adventure as though from a bygone era, the pair is not afraid to linger on a note or in a mood. They'll lull you into the eye of their hurricane and then surprise attack. Claire, the spokesperson for The Bowmans out in the world, handles business for the largely DIY pair. On stage, she plays tambourines, egg shaker, violin, and sings background vocals that are so locked in they are, at times, nearly inseperable from Sarah's mighty lead. A powerful dynamo onstage, Sarah is the songwriter, guitar player and lead vocalist. She is a stunningly strong singer and a dramatic composer who employs striking changes and a wide range of mood, sound, and time. The Bowmans are linked by a force stronger than static cling or dog hair on a black sweater. Although they swear they have no 'psychic twin' thing going on, it's apparent they have grown together since before birth. They are impeccable in timing from beginning to end. In fact, the most apt description I can find for their performance is perfection.
Not surprisingly, there's a buzz around them. Fiona Apple recently covered one of their songs. LA has embraced the duo during their short stay here. Stay tuned for more of them. And say 'hi' when you have the pleasure of encountering them somewhere in this wide world.
100% authentic, The Bowmans are as modest and friendly as they are talented.

Listen to their Live@Chessvolt tracks (option/click to download):

The Kitchen Song
Make It Last
You're Right
Digging For Gold
On The Road
Far From Home

The album, Far From Home

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ben Harvick

We first met Ben at Chessvolt Studios last year. A mutual friend sent him our way. He came and sat on a stool in the middle of the tracking room with his guitar, prepared with about 20 songs to sing and play, just in case.
"How many songs do you have?" Peter asked. "Alot more," Ben confessed.
After the first couple, we were intrigued.
Here's a bit of what came out of our first session with Ben.
Bearing striking similarities to Elliot Smith, some of Ben's songs are edgy, like a punk Jack Johnson who might go off if nudged only a little further. The songs are melodic and infectious, naive sounding yet lyrically profound.

It Was Over
Run Along
Unaccounted For
This One Does

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mack Winston was here......

They came, they played, they left behind an autographed bottle of Boone's Strawberry Hill.......!

Stay tuned for awesome live tracks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Matt Ellis - Live@Chessvolt Studios 7/18/08

Matt Ellis and Josh Norton @ Chessvolt Studios

It's easy to be in the humble company of Matt Ellis and his guitar player, Josh Norton. Quiet and relaxed, the native Australian and his LA mate set up easily, ready to dig in. Which is just what they did. A skilled player with deep blues roots, Josh added the ambiance to round out Matt's steady acoustic accompanied by his determined, pleading vocals. He sang his heart out till he was hoarse (he was also on tail end of a cold). He talked a little about writing the song at his kitchen table. It's sad and lonely and honest and heartwrenching. He also reflected on his recent marriage. The song must have worked. How could she have ever said no?!

Recording notes: For Matt's vocals, we used a Blue Kiwi microphone sent through the preamp of our vintage Neve console and then inserted the Tube Tech Compressor for a tiny touch of compression. His Australian hand-crafted guitar's sound was on the bright side with the original mic, the NeumannKM88, so we added a 2nd guitar mic, a Neuman M149 tube mic, and blended the sound.
Josh brought his Epiphone Sheridan and Fender Blues DeVille amp. We isolated his amp in the vocal booth. We mic'd it with a Shure 57 plus a Blue Omnimouse for room sound.

Check out the clear, rich sound of Matt's songs (option-click to download):
10:15 on the 405
Hey Mister
King's Cross
My Mistake
Through to You

Tell the People

Olin & The Moon - Live@Chessvolt Studios 7/17/08

Olin & The Moon's Kyle, David, Travis, Marshall, and Brian

One night before the 'full' was official, we paused for a moment in the parking lot at Chessvolt Studios, in between set-up and the live session, to take in the huge yellow moon
on the horizon. David and the other Idahoans (except Kyle, the token SoCal guy) who make up Olin & The Moon agreed it was the sign of a good night ahead. I can't imagine more favorable foreshadowing. The band laid down 5 solid tracks, warm and plump with heartfelt lyrics and pining pedal steel. The entire performance was drenched in endearing unselfconscious authenticity. If it weren't for the ongoing casual banter borne of the easy rapport between longtime friends ("hey, remember the foreign exchange student? he wrote this song about her!"), I may have had to climb under the covers with a box of tissues and some advil that night, so poignant were the songs.

Their sound has been dubbed "country-tinged indie rock" with references to Neil Young and Elliot Smith. Just listen. Olin & The Moon has their own special thing going on. We have a feeling you'll agree.

Listen to the live tracks(option-click to download):
Call Me Up
No Traffic No Trees
Ship On The Sea
Castle Rock
Song of Summer

Olin & The Moon

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sumptuous Sound

Luxury Wafers is all about what's good. We are real people living in our own real world of serious appreciation for the stuff that brings pleasure, comfort and enjoyment. We are devoted epicures of tasty little chips chock full of big flavor. From words and notes on a page, a computer file, or a physical disc to total sound immersion, we like to savor what feeds us creatively, and we want to share it with you. Look to Luxury Wafers to bring you fine recordings and other artistic orts for your enjoyment.