NEPA Scene Staff

Alternative singer/songwriter Meg Myers plays free Alt 92.1 Private Artist Showcase in Scranton on Aug. 19

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From a press release:

Local alternative radio station Alt 92.1 is bringing alternative rock singer/songwriter Meg Myers to downtown Scranton for its next Alt 92.1 Private Artist Showcase on Monday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.

Held in the Alt Radio Theater in the Scranton Times building (149 Penn Ave., Scranton), this intimate all-ages show is free, but seating is limited and tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. To get a ticket, text “meg” to the Alt 92.1 Text Club at 88474. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to guarantee a seat, as the room is purposely overbooked to ensure a full theater.

Recently releasing an acclaimed cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” Myers’ latest original album of dark pop music, “Take Me to the Disco,” has also been met with rave reviews, leading the Associated Press to declare her “a genuine rock goddess,” saying “Myers definitely isn’t fooling around, and there’s no denying the woman’s sheer talent, both as a songwriter and as a singer who can go from kittenish to face-melting in the same song.” The 2018 album also earned her a pick on NPR’s New Music Friday Podcast, who loved her “cathartic, primal screams” and called the album “powerful and potent,” as well as praise from the New York Times, who dubbed Myers’ sound “seething and then exploding,” and Billboard, who deemed her songs “cathartic” and “life affirming.”

“Growing up, I was never really interested in covering other artist’s music,” Myers explained. “I always wanted to write my own songs because I knew I could only sing music and lyrics that were truly authentic, from my heart – and also would have to make sense with my deep voice. Well, then I discovered Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill,’ which for years has resonated with my soul like nothing ever before. What if we could experience role reversal? What would it be like living in each other’s shoes? I think we would find a lot more compassion for one another and a passion for kindness and truth. This song, to me, represents an opening of our hearts and a possibility of acceptance for all. And to me, this is an important message for the world we are living in right now.”

Meg Myers collapsed like a broken rag doll on her hardwood floors in her Los Angeles apartment, crying uncontrollable, feeling something she’s never felt before. It’s that kind of cry you don’t even wish upon your worst enemies – the kind that comes from that hidden place where all your demons are trying to break free.

You’d think something terrible had just happened, but quite the opposite. The singer/songwriter was just listening back to rough mixes of her record, “Take Me to the Disco” (300 Entertainment), when a profound realization swept over her. “When I first wrote some of these new songs, I thought I knew what I was writing about. A lot had to do with a breakup.”

“Listening back to some of these songs made me realize what I was really writing about… what was underneath it all,” continued Myers, who grew up in a Jehovah’s Witness household before breaking free to pursue music in Los Angles at the age of 19. “All of a sudden, it all made sense to me, and that moment of realization just overwhelmed me with a flood of tears and joy. On the surface, I thought I was writing about love loss, but I’ve learned it goes much deeper than that. It’s going back to the child in me that needed to be healed. I’ve always written from a true place, but in getting to know myself better, I’m now writing from an even deeper level of honesty.”

The dreamy, atmospheric title track is one such song. “I had an epiphany on this one,” she admitted. “It started out being about wanting to escape, which is a common theme I write about it. I’ve always been a little obsessed with death and wanting to just be taken away from it all. It’s something I’ve never been able to understand about myself until now. But I realized that it wasn’t about disappearing and disconnecting. It was actually about a primal need to not just connect to myself in a deeper way, but to connect to something larger than myself.”

Likewise, on another album standout, “Tourniquet,” she looks at the stranglehold a bittersweet romance has had on her. “It’s about knowing that you need to get out of something, but you can’t because you are trapped. It’s that moment you realize you’re going to have to change everything you’ve ever known. It’s time to turn off the life support machine and risk everything for your only chance to be reborn.” she said.

Anyone familiar with Myers’ work shouldn’t be too surprised at the intensity of what she just said. With her first three critically acclaimed releases, the EPs “Daughter in the Choir” (2013) and “Make a Shadow” (2014) and her 2015 full-length debut, “Sorry” (Atlantic Records), the artist made a name for herself on the emotional intensity of her lyrics and music and her uncanny ability to vacillate between seducing the listener with an innocent whisper before jarring them with a guttural scream. Entertainment Weekly aptly described her knack for such emotive vocal dynamics as “mysteriously shape-shifting.”

Billboard echoed that sentiment: “Myers delivered a strikingly visceral feeling and the sort of deeply relatable angst artists like Fiona Apple came up on. The result is at times guttural and primitive in its execution.” Her unique brand of alt rock spawned the Top 15 and Top 20 alternative radio hits “Desire” and “Sorry,” respectively, with MTV calling “Desire” the female answer to Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” Myers, who graced the pages of every major publication from Rolling Stone to Cosmopolitan to the New York Times, landed coveted opening slots with the Pixies, Alt-J, and AWOLNATION and featured on such notable festivals as Lollapalooza and the Governors Ball Music Festival.

The difference, though, between her previous work and the 12 songs on “Take Me to the Disco” is quite profound. Sure, the angst is still there. So is the push-and-pull of those light and dark moments, but it’s now peppered with newfound wisdom and perspective… and a little bit of humor.

Take the first single, “Numb,” for instance. In the quiet moments in the verse, Myers almost jokingly succumbs to being a record label puppet as she sarcastically states, “Tell me how to write this / Tell me how to fight this war,” before busting out her true feelings in a bombastic chorus where she wails, “You think you want the best for me / But nothing really matters / If you force it, it won’t come / I guess I’m feeling numb.” In another breath of vocal gymnastics, she cheekily sings in a girlish tone, “I don’t want to grow up. La la la la la.”

“There are definitely more light-hearted moments on the record,” she said. “It comes with finally being past certain situations and being able to look back and laugh at things.”

The end result is the feeling of empowerment that comes when the artist realizes that she can use the trials and tribulations of the music industry and life to fuel her creativity instead of stifling it. “When I first wrote ‘Numb,'” explained Myers, whose influences range from Tori Amos to Nine Inch Nails to Danny Elfman scores to classical music, “it was about my experience with a major record label. But as I dug deeper, I found that it goes back to some early childhood stuff and how shutting down, or escaping, felt like the safer thing to do. It used to be that all of the pressure made me lose feeling, but now I feel stronger to face the tougher stuff and let it empower me instead of drag me down. But there are times I still fail at this.”

She credits her new collaboration with the album’s producer and main co-writer, Christian “Leggy” Langdon, with some of her creative breakthroughs. “Leggy had this amazing ability to really pull things out of me and he also knew what I was feeling unlike anyone else,” Myers noted.

Another standout on the album is the sexy rocker “Jealous Sea” where she faces her inner green-eyed monster head-on. “This is definitely a walk on the darker side, but it also shows the beauty in the darkness. I’ve always been drawn to those minor notes, and the dramatic swells and dynamics that you hear in classical music. But it’s also influenced by bands like Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode.”

To bring some of that vibe to the record, Myers enlisted Victor Indrizzo, who has played with Depeche Mode, to contribute drums/percussion to most songs on “Take Me to the Disco.” And she used a live string section for the first time – The Section Quartet appears on six songs on the album.

Music is a form of escapism for many, but Myers is finally done escaping. On “Take Me to the Disco,” she bravely faces her own reality head-on, fearless and empowered. But there is still work to be done. Myers added, “Making this record was healing, cathartic, and sometimes scary, but I think it made me a better artist. And it’s just the beginning. I have a lot of work to do. I have more to confront and more to understand… more to say.”