Canadian keyboardist Valerie Poxleitner – who for eight years has performed as Lights – can guess how fans initially may view her new third full-length recording “Little Machines” and its OMD-retro reflections “Child,” “Up We Go” and “Running With the Boys.”
“I knew going into this that everyone would think ‘child and mother record.’ But it was completely written before I was pregnant, which is bizarre. Looking at everything that was happening, then looking back on my track list, I kept thinking, ‘Oh, man – this is so weird,’” says the singer, 27, who married her longtime paramour Beau Bokan of Blessthefall in 2012 and gave birth to their daughter Rocket in February.
Yet it seems like only yesterday that Lights, who plays the Regency on Thursday, was a kooky teen herself, issuing her 2009 debut “The Listening,” drawing comic books featuring her pet tarantula Lance, scripting her own “Barbarella”-cheesy videos and spending spare time playing video games.
She says, “But it happens – you put a record out when you’re young, and you look young, and people see you as that forever. And then one day you have a child, and people think, ‘Wow – why did that kid have a baby?’ But this record is definitely me bringing out that older side of myself.”
Lights stresses she rarely sang about shallow topics like boyfriends and relationships – so “Running With the Boys” is much deeper than it appears, and concerns the inevitable loss of childhood innocence as adulthood kicks in.
“But having a child had nothing to do with that, and I still feel like a kid,” she says. “And that’s what I was searching for on this album – going back to when things were fun and you had such huge imagination and enjoyed everything so much more.”
Getting there was not an easy trip.
“Up We Go” documents the creative dead end Lights hit and ensuing depression.
At the start of her career, she saw her electro-pop sound as fresh and innovative, something few women were doing. Now, female keyboardist are a dime a dozen. She says, “I can no longer listen to ‘The Listening’ because it’s been done so many times now.”
So she began writing Patti Smith-inspired poetry before carefully studying the catalogs of women she admired, like Bjork, Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper.
Ironically, the analog-synthesizer-based “Little Machines” concept arrived around the same time as Rocket. “I was in the studio, actually doing vocals while in labor,” Lights says. “Then I have her, and then I go back in three days later to work on the record again.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 13
Tickets: $20 to $23
Contact: (415) 673-5716, www,axs.com