Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mischief Brew - Jobs in Steel Town 7"

Since I haven't really had the time to do any full posts of late, I'm going to continue to half-ass it (well, sort of) while posting various 7" recordings until my schedule becomes less unrelenting.

Mischief Brew is the undertaking of singer-songwriter Erik Peterson, a project which combines elements of the protest singers of the 60's with a highly varied assortment of musical influences, including Celtic, swing, and early jazz. The Jobs in Steel Town 7" was released just last year, and thematically, it focuses on the effects of business on working-class towns; namely, the reliance of the latter on the former and the almost indifferent relationship that exists on the other end of the scale. Peterson's lyrics on the title track paint a somber picture of what happens when the fruits of industry dry out - a picture which becomes especially resonant when looking at the current status of the American auto industry, which has shed workers by the tens of thousands just to stay afloat - as he traces the downfall and failed revitalization of a former industrial center. On the B-side, however, Peterson's tone is more hopeful, as he chooses to revel in the "beautiful decay" he sees rather than lament it. "The Barrel" focuses on the idea of finding yourself in a bad situation and seeing in it an opportunity for solidarity, growth and self-fulfillment, like when a flower peeks through a crack in the pavement. Jobs in Steel Town doesn't contain the strongest songs ever penned under the Mischief Brew name, but it does contain some of the most resonant, and it stands as a sympathetic ode to the trials of the working-class as the importance of labour continues to diminish in the face of a globalized world.

Jobs in Steel Town

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