9.6.09

THE MIDDLE CLASS : Homeland

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Don't laugh, but I've only just discovered this lot. I somehow managed to miss them entirely whilst immersed in hardcore & it's many sub-generic tentacles back in the mid-80s so, despite still being well versed in the back catalogues of the SST & Dischord bands, The Middle Class still seem relatively fresh & exciting from where I'm perched...

Formed in California in 1976, there's serious debate as to whether The Middle Class pre-date both Washington's Bad Brains & Minor Threat-fronted Dischord scene. Interestingly, they released their first 7", January 1979's mould-shattering Out Of Vogue EP, concurrently with Black Flag's (still awesome) Nervous Breakdown debut. Some pundits maintain that The Middle Class were regularly playing several months prior to Black Flag's inaugeral public appearance, suggesting that the former might actually have exerted some influence on Greg Ginn & co.'s fledgling outfit. By the time of their Scavanged Luxury EP in 1980, The Middle Class were already displaying subtle, artier inclinations & an eagerness to offload hardcore's stifling "loud fast rules"-type conservatism - a result of obsessing over imported Wire, Gang Of Four & (early) Cure albums, no doubt? Their own (& only) full length album, 1982's dark & powerful Homeland, dispenses with the h/c stylings altogether &, despite being such a progressive & impressive collection of songs, has been consistently overlooked - unjustly as it's the one of the great "lost masterpieces" of the period (love that M.Garrett-inspired sleeve too!). Though the EPs & various demo & live offcuts have been anthologised on more than one occasion (primarily on the Blueprint For Joy compilation), Homeland remains out of print & out of sight, unavailable since it's original 1982 Pulse issue. Explanation somebody please...
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Listen

N.B. I'm v.pleased to confirm that the Mike Patton who played bass for The Middle Class is not, repeat NOT, the Mike Patton of ex-Faith No More "reknown" & subsequent self-satisfied avant garde grunting 'n' gurning (I checked). And there's an exhaustive i/v over at Angry Shorthand if you're want to know more. Oh, & many thanks to Rocket Science for the linkage btw (I'd probably have never heard Homeland myself if they hadn't taken the time to post it).

Also... Frontier Records have apparently unearthed a stash of the last few original vinyl copies of the '82 Pulse LP & are flogging 'em, on a first-come, first-served basis, here. Once they're gone, they're gone...

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous1.2.11

    One of the most underrated LP's of all-time. I absolutely love this album.

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  2. Nice work, your message has reminded me that I haven't played this LP in ages! It'll be the first thing I listen to when I get home from work tonight, thanks for the tip off...

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  3. Anonymous24.8.12

    Can you please (re)upload this album? Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete