At 19, Regrettes bandleader Lydia Night doesn’t consider herself to be prodigious or even particularly precocious, even though she wrote her first Donnas-inspired song at age 6.
But the stylistic distance she’s vaulted from the Los Angeles group’s bratty 2017 debut “Feel Your Feelings Fool” to its sleek new sophomore venture “How Do You Love?” is remarkable.
As produced by pop-savvy Mike Elizondo, songs including “Dress Up,” “California Friends” and ”I Dare You” crackle with punk ferocity, chant-along choruses and Night’s ferret-fanged vocal delivery, which even drifts into subdued Phil Spector territory on the plush “Pumpkin.”
The disc isn’t the valentine-y concept record it initially appears to be, says Night, who appears with the band in San Francisco on Friday.
“The overarching theme throughout ‘How Do You Love?’ is empowerment,” continues the composer, who enjoys lacing her work with subliminal messages and subversive political metaphors that beg to be found like video game Easter eggs. “So yes, it’s telling love stories. But the overall message here is that empowerment is the most important thing right now for people — during such a crazy era, you need to be as powerful as possible, so you don’t have to take anyone’s s—-. Therefore, these songs do affect you in a political mindset, but in a more emotional, less blunt kind of way.”
Anyone over 30 and looking back might vaguely recall as footnotes the life changes that, to Night, felt seismic and happened almost yesterday: Learning to drive and finally getting her license, finishing her senior-year high school studies, moving out of the family home into an apartment of her own in centrally-located Atwater Village, and making sure to stock the pantry with more than Top Ramen every week, sans parentally provided home-cooked meals.
“And I am a scaredy cat for sure,” she says. “So it’s been hard getting used to being alone in that house. But then again, it’s also been super fun.”
It helps, of course, when Night’s live-in boyfriend is home from the road. “Yes, I found romance,” she says shyly, knowing it’s difficult to downplay the relationship with Dylan Minnette, Wallows vocalist and star of Netflix’s hit series “13 Reasons Why.” They met when both groups were playing the same music festival, realized they had common interests, and promptly moved in together. “It happened really fast, but it’s been super inspiring,” she says.”
Now, Night is already considering potential producers for the third Regrettes opus. So far, her parents have approved of all her choices. “They always taught me to just do what I want to do, and to make the music that I really want to make,” she says. “So that’s exactly what I’ve done.”
IF YOU GO
Where: August Hall, 420 Mason St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18
Contact: (415) 872-5745, www.augusthallsf.com