Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) has a new album “Lost Girls.” (Courtesy Logan White)

Bat For Lashes, Stonefield, Big Country on tour

BTL songwriter Natasha Khan busy with many diverse projects

British composer Natasha Khan — who records and performs as Bat For Lashes — may have left her sleepy seaside town of Brighton for Los Angeles three years ago, but she hasn’t gone Hollywood.

Following several New Yorker friends who already made the pilgrimage, she says, “I was just looking to switch up my creative community, get some nature and work on a bit of scriptwriting.”

But Tinseltown took her under its wing. She wound up: directing short films; teaching classes at Los Angeles’ Design and Music Academy; composing music for Stephen King’s “Castle Rock” series on Hulu with Charles Scott IV; hammering out “Lost Girls,” her own sinister screenplay about witches; and eventually turning some of her songs into last year’s BFL concept album of the same name, which she’s backing on tour in town this week.

By the time she got the call from “Castle Rock” parent company — J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot — Khan says she felt like a whoa-dude local. “I had spent a year absorbing all of the raiments of L.A. while avoiding all of that actor-y stuff,” she says. “I was more about the desert, the suburban neighborhoods and going up to Santa Cruz to see the “Lost Boys” bridge. Just seeing all these places that I’d seen in films before and felt like I was living in some ‘80s kids’ movie.”

She had no idea what to expect when she met with Scott, but by the end of their first day writing together, they completed one song, the moody, flickering “Kids in the Dark,” which became the first from “Lost Girls,” and feels like it would play well over a film’s closing credits.

“The premise Charles had for me was that there would be a Castle Rock radio station, and they wanted songs that sounded like they were from the ‘80s,” says the artist, 40. It suited her perfectly, she adds, “Because I think that’s what I’ve always been trying to do in my career, anyway.”

And now that she’s imagined this universe where her intrepid protagonist Nikki Pink faces off against a gang of biker witches, she hopes to see her screenplay made into a movie, as well.

“But none of the things I’m making are meant to be mere ‘content’ for anyone. I’ve been painting, there’s a children’s book I want to finish, and it’s all just my natural output. I don’t feel pressured to produce,” she says.

IF YOU GO

Bat For Lashes

Where: Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13

Tickets: $35

Contact: apeconcerts.com

Australian prog-rockers Stonefield appear in Oakland on Feb. 13. (Courtesy Stonefield)

Australian Amy Findlay of the pysch-rock band Stonefield, on the other hand, is happy that Greta Gerwig has made a sleek new version of “Little Women.”

But she doesn’t need to see it. She and her three younger sisters — appearing this week in The City promoting their fourth album, “Bent” — actually lived it, growing up in the secluded mountain village of Darraweit Guim.

“People always used to refer to us like that,” says the drummer-vocalist, 29. “Our mom used to dress us in little white cheesecloth dresses, so we’d get “‘Little Women’ or ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ We spent a lot of time just riding our bikes, rolling downhill, or throwing cow poo at each other.”

That is, until a drum kit arrived one Christmas.

Amy called dibs, and spurred by Frank Zappa records her parents played around the house, began taking music seriously.

She eventually was joined in the family band by Hannah on guitar, Sarah on keyboards and Holly on bass.

Stonefield issued its eponymous debut in 2013, and wore its heart on its retro sleeve via the classics it covered, like Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride.”

Soon, they were opening select Down Under dates for Fleetwood Mac and studying the supergroup from backstage. “Linsey Buckingham was still playing with them then, and they were so good it blew our minds,” says Findlay, who also covers the Mac hit “The Chain.”

For “Bent,” Stonefield wrote from a more personal slant, about grueling life on the road, which rarely includes any sibling rivalry.

“Touring does get hard sometimes,” Findlay admits. “But it’s great to be able to openly talk to each other about it, and to know each other well enough to know when you need to back off.”

And dating? She laughs. The three oldest sisters have partners, she says. “So all the focus is on Holly, the youngest. We watch over her very protectively. But hey, that’s what older sisters do, right?”

IF YOU GO

Stonefield

Where: Starline Social Club, 2236 Martin Luther King Way, Oakland

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13

Tickets: $13 to $15

Contact: starlinesocialclub.com

Scottish band Big Country, which hit big in the 1980s, is touring with a new lineup that includes founding member Bruce Watson and his son. (Courtesy photo)

Some groups have an innate cinematic sweep to their sound at inception, like Big Country, the Ebow-assisted Scottish combo from Dunfermline. Although original vocalist Stuart Adamson died in 2001, the group has continued, with similarly-timbred singers, including the Alarm’s Mike Peters and newest member Simon Hough, alongside the eternally-chiming axwork of founder Bruce Watson, now augmented by his guitarist offspring Jamie. Father and son also have a spinoff project called WKW with Yankee multi-instrumentalist Thomas Kercheval and a new album, “Men of Steel.” Dad explained the family business.

How did Jamie get into guitar like his old man?

I’ve got an older boy named Bruce who was never into music as such. But Jamie showed an interest at an early age, so that was great. I didn’t overly encourage him, but I didn’t discourage him, either. There were always guitars lying about, so it didn’t take him long to pick one up and start playing alone.

What did you teach him?

I didn’t teach him anything. He learned everything himself. And then when I was on tour, he got some guitar lessons, as well. And he’s always known Big Country songs, and he used to go out with us to some gigs, and he’d often be there when we were recording albums. And so when I put the band back together, he seemed like the obvious choice to play guitar, just because he knew the material anyway.

How did you form WKW?

A couple of years ago, Tom had this podcast called “The Great Divide,” which is all about Big Country. And sometimes I would contribute little snippets of music for him to play as intro music. So we got to sending each other files back and forth, and playing on each other’s music, until we ended up collaborating on the EP, “Hands Across the Ocean.” So we put this little EP online, and it got quite nice reviews, and we decided to do a full album.

And Jamie’s just become a dad himself, which makes you…

I know, I know. A grandad. But it feels great!

IF YOU GO

Big Country

Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13

Tickets: $35 to $40

Contact: thechapelsf.com

Pop Music

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Thousands flood Mission District for youth-led George Floyd protest

As civil unrest over the killing of George Floyd continued Wednesday in… Continue reading

Breed closes nearly $250M budget deficit in current fiscal year

Cuts include street repaving, firefighting hose tender trucks, childcare subsidies

DA drops charges against man seen in video of officer using knee restraint

Footage leads to calls for SF police to explicity ban move used in death of George Floyd

SF mayor to end curfew after Wednesday night

Breed: ‘We know that the overwhelming majority of people out protesting are doing so peacefully’

New charges announced against former police officers over George Floyd death

By Molly O’Toole, Elliot Wailoo and Erin B. Logan Los Angeles Times… Continue reading

Most Read