If you love-hate your home state, you’ll totally get Mischief Brew’s awesomely self-depricating “O, Pennsyltucky!” video
Mischief Brew‘s Erik Petersen is equal parts songwriter, social critic and comedic satirist, and all three of those come together in the band’s brilliant new “O, Pennsyltucky!” The title track to their new EP, out today on the band’s own Fistolo Records, plays on a common regional concern – those residents who love their home state except for those points where, you know, they actually get out and about in their home state and feel their blood pressure rising. For any number of reasons, mind you, not the least of which is Pennsylvania’s ruthless industrial history; “Where we all come from / most died of the black lung,” Petersen snarls on the second verse. Meanwhile, the song’s video – shot by Jon Foy (bassist of Kettle Rebellion and Sundance award winner for directing Resurrect Dead) – is set in Centralia where, infamously, “the coal fires buckled the miners’ highways” as the chorus goes.
It might also be the very, very religious underpinnings of, well, most of the state, which ranges from warmly unconventional to kinda uncomfortable (somewhere in the middle was the diner I went to just outside of Wilkes-Barre this Sunday, where the placemat ads perplexingly touted a Chiropractor for Christ). Petersen chimes in on this, singing “It says ‘Church’ in neon and asks me what’s beyond / if I had to guess, I’d say more of the same.” And politics…well, actually, let’s just not talk about politics.
Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to be angry about in Pennsylvania, and Petersen doesn’t exempt himself from the crossfire, calling out “old Filthadelph, Hostile City, PA” in the refrain. But at the same time, Mischief Brew (and I’ll wager, most regional naysayers) has a lot of love for their home too. In the video, as a gas mask clad dude wanders the vacant streets and fields of Centralia, matching up old photographs to the present-day abandoned landscape, and within the scene we see any number of regional touchstones – Yuengling, a Phillies shirt, a Fuel patch. There’s a comfort to the old familiar, the good and the bad. And as Petersen sings on the bridge, “Wake me when Steel City’s roadwork signs shine in my face / whew, now I’m safe!”
Check out the video for “O, Pennsyltucky!” below, stream and download the EP via Bandcamp and catch Mischief Brew when they headline Kung Fu Necktie on November 7th. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.