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Tuesday March 21 2023
 8:00PM doors -- music at 8:30PM
$12 in advance / $15 at the door
Bubble Tea and Cigarettes
 bedroom pop
Luby Sparks
 (from Japan)
 alternative shoegaze dream pop
Luke Sweeney
 alternative / indie

Bubble Tea and Cigarettes
-from New York, NY
-Hi! Just to tell you a bit of the story behind the project. In the winter of 2019, around midnight, we were strolling around the neon-lit streets of lower east side NYC, tipsy and looking for some temporary escape from our monotonous 9-to-5 lives. Lately, Kat had been asking me, an amateur jazz pianist, to compose some pop songs that she would like. As we continued walking, a really good melody came to my mind. So we rushed back home and recorded the melody on a guitar, accompanied by some MIDI bass and drums. We loved this little piece of music we created so much that we ended up looping and vibing to the music for hours till morning came. The melody later became the intro of our most streamed song and the first song we wrote together - '5AM Empanada With You'. We were lucky enough to receive a lot of support on the Internet that kept us going and writing more songs later on.

I think we both grew up in pretty conservative families and societies, but we were both emotional/artistic/rebellious kids. We worked hard to leave the past and somehow ended up in the United States on our own. In a foreign land, we ground through the realities and endured loneliness. Only a decade of self-exploration in the United States later had we found ourselves more confused and alienated from the rest of the world. Lived through the good and bad of different cultures and societies, we tried to become many things, but that led us ultimately become a 'nothing'.

With these emotions surrounding us daily, the 'Bubble Tea and Cigarettes' project became a haven for us to unleash some of our dark fantasies and questions about the disheartening realities. We try to form these emotions into love stories, but I find them relevant to any desire I feel toward the world.

As for the band name 'Bubble Tea and Cigarettes', it started as a joke as Kat used to drink more bubble tea than water, and smoked half a pack a day, as a way to cope with some crazy pressures. We ended up using it as it, although may seem silly, is an authentic representation of a lifestyle. The 'Bubble Tea' represents the still youthful and pleasure-seeking sides of a person's post-adolescence, while the 'Cigarettes' represents the bitter and mature counterpart.

Artists who make truthful and vulnerable art have helped us a lot through difficult times, so we are striving to create music in the same spirit, hoping to help people who are like us.

- Andi

Luby Sparks
-from Tokyo, Japan
-Luby Sparks is not your average Japanese rock band. Their layered, wistful sound is reminiscent of late 90s Shoegaze but they have developed a sound that is all their own. Singing all of their songs English is not the safest approach for a young band in Japan, but they defiantly embrace their unique approach.

Luke Sweeney
-from San Francisco, CA
-At a simple ghat along the Ganges river in Rishikesh, India, Luke Sweeney and his family laid his infant daughter’s ashes into the water and recited Hindu prayers. As the river carried those ashes, a force bigger than his grief pulled Sweeney into an artistic process unlike any he had undertaken before. For years, the ‘calm poseur’ had kept busy playing the part of San Francisco’s gangly trouble-making troubadour: recording three solo records, touring the western U.S. multiple times over, and lending his hand to co-conspirators Tim Cohen and Healing Potpourri. But somehow in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy, when all time and music seemed to stop, he re-discovered the point of it all.

With Rishi serving as his guide, teacher, and muse, Sweeney started to track Garageband demos on his iPhone throughout India, with only a few crude pocket-sized instruments at hand. Soon after returning to San Francisco, he was in a Mission District apartment working with engineers and co-producers Joe Santarpia (Mac DeMarco) and Roberto Pagano (Tonsstartsbandht) to bring his inspired vignettes to life as fully-realized songs in their homemade studio. The process was scattered over two years time, as Sweeney’s Peace Meal album finally surfaced and he rounded a band together. There was still grieving, conflict, struggle, and pain. But as construction on the Rishi album continued, the songs started to reveal the bigger picture of life and death — with music serving as a cosmic conduit between the material and the spiritual world.

Straddling that line between the sacred and profane has always been a skill of Sweeney’s, but here his DIY pop tightrope act is taken to another level. Deities and drifters alike play a part in a sonic procession that pulls from all corners of the world; everything from 808 beats, synth bass lines, Nile Rogers-esque strums, and groovy Prince-like party refrains sit alongside stoney 60’s-style interludes, jazzy futuristic spells, prog-rock guitar plucks and riffs, a children’s chorus and even Hindu chanting circles. Orchestrated with loads of samples from Sweeney’s original demos, these recordings are as thrifty, raw and real as they are divinely crafted — navigated by a lyrical character so sincere that it could only be the voice of someone who has endured the darkest of life’s tribulations and lived to see the light on other side. And now, these songs carry Rishi’s spirit like the Ganges carried her ashes.