MIDDLE CLASS, THE: Out of Vogue—The Early Material: LP

One of my favorite things about hardcore is when old codgers who have been into it for too long will get bored with life and begin extolling the virtues of some unknown band. I particularly love it when the hype begins to raise eBay prices and, before long, a mediocre retrospective record is produced. Then eBay process fall and everything goes back to normal. This is one case, however, where the community has been served properly. Out of Vogue—The Early Material is an essential document of that magical time in history where punk rock picked up speed. The song “Out of Vogue” is a classic smoker that has gotten around a bit. Loud, fast and out of control, it is the song that they are known for. But this record is not a one hit wonder. Vogue contains the band’s first two 7”s plus some demos that are actually worth listening to. From session to session, their style wobbles between early Bad Brains recordings and Adolescents-sounding beach punk. The negligible variation in style and raw recording quality gives the record as a complete listen the feel of putting on Discord’s Year One. The Middle Class originate from the late ‘70s when punks were unsure if the music could handle the speed. This document of their output is angry and sloppy and there is not a weak spot on the record. Am I an old codger extolling the virtues of a virtually unknown hardcore band? Maybe. But don’t let that stop you. This is essential listening. An absolute keeper.

 –Billups Allen (Frontier)