Middle Class Fashion
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Middle Class Fashion

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Pop Pop

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

May
16
Middle Class Fashion @ Stagger Inn

Edwardsville, Illinois, USA

Edwardsville, Illinois, USA

May
15
Middle Class Fashion @ Bar None

Springfield, Illinois, USA

Springfield, Illinois, USA

Apr
19
Middle Class Fashion @ Euclid Records

St Louis, Missouri, USA

St Louis, Missouri, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Who’d have guessed that somebody would bring up Rick Springfield?

The native Australian who recorded “Jessie’s Girl” may not be very hip these days, but Brian McClelland, the bass player and elder statesman of St. Louis pop combo Middle Class Fashion, drops the name of the ’80s icon with an unapologetic reverence—not to mention unabashed enthusiasm.

“I like some stuff that’s less cool,” he confesses. Of course, what is cool or not can be deemed only by an individual’s aesthetic thermometer. For its part, Middle Class Fashion (comprising, as pictured on the facing page, Brad Vaughn, McClelland, Jenn Malzone, and Katie Lindhorst) has had no problem warming up to success—and the decidedly unmercurial pop band actually has another connection to the continent Down Under.

“We had a spike in iTunes sales in Australia,” says McClelland, talking about the group’s new album, Girl Talk. Though he doesn’t pretend to know exactly why the music’s taken off in the land of Springfield, he freely admits the proceeds will come in handy. “It’s funding a whole new recording project,” he says. “We’re actually going back into the studio to record a second record.”

While McClelland may be the pop historian of the band, the vision—not to mention the songwriting—is the near-sole territory of pianist Malzone, whose short dark hair and bookish glasses paint her as an intellectual with perhaps just a tinge of post–Go-Go’s girl-power.

She echoes McClelland. “We were surprised about how well Girl Talk went over,” she says. “We were so into our other projects, and once we made that recording, we were really proud of it. We got really good iTunes sales and started getting more people at our shows—and getting pretty good local sales, too.”

At that point, Middle Class Fashion went from a side project to a core consideration. And as is the case with so many musical artists who find themselves thriving, or at least existing, in the zeitgeist of the Internet, Middle Class Fashion has the goal of spreading its own word, rather than hinging its future on the hope of being discovered by a bloated, dinosaurian label.

Malzone’s objective is “writing the best songs I can, and enjoying collaborating with these talented people.” (And traveling with them, too. The band has toured places like Dayton, Ohio, and Indianapolis, and as time and money permit, the members want to take its music as far as it will go—literally and figuratively.)

At some point, the band may earn the keys to various cities, but for now the keys remain, rather mellifluously, under Malzone’s trained fingertips.

“I was forced into piano lessons starting at age 5,” she says. “My mom is a piano teacher, and my dad owns a piano gallery.” Those lessons have paid off. Malzone’s highly literate songs, simultaneously subtle and bubbly, are like thinly bladed confessionals skating on a sheet of classical ice. Still, Malzone doesn’t quite consider herself a virtuoso.

“I’m a songwriter—and piano is the easiest for me. I don’t have to think about it,” she says. This sing-along–friendly band isn’t trying to be quirky or arm melodies with jarring bursts of angst-riddled noise. “Fun Whoa” has a resilient chorus, and “Jamie,” a Malzone-McClelland composition, is like neatly wrapped bubble gum. Those are just two standouts; the rest of the album nicely follows suit. Being fashionable is actually an afterthought.

“What’s really funny,” adds the newest member, Lindhorst, “is that even before I started playing with you guys, I noted what you wore and thought, ‘That’s so cool!’” The next thing she knew, Lindhorst was donning a pop-friendly skinny tie and making a Middle Class Fashion statement of her own. - Saint Louis Magazine


"It seemed like it seemed like it came out of nowhere, then Middle Class Fashon's Girl Talk was everywhere..." (read more at link) - Eleven Magazine


On August 2nd, Middle Class Fashion releases their new full-length record, Jungle, at Off Broadway with support from Humdrum and Kid Scientist. The show’s sponsored by 4 Hands Brewing Co. and New Belgium MO, two grand patrons of the St. Louis music community.

The main event? Middle Class Fashion, Version 2.0 (or whatever), who’ll show up with a brand new album and a semi-new member in tow. Katie Lindhorst (The Glass Calvary) now supports Brian McClelland (bass), Jenn Malzone (vocals, keys), and Brad Vaughn (drums) with her voice and her synth, and this foursome exhibits the most captivating MCF arrangement to date.

Included on Jungle is “Golden Rose”, a snappy, addictive gem that once again demonstrates Malzone’s razor-sharp tongue and highlights McClelland’s talent on bass. (Read Chris Schaeffer’s Homespun review column from this week, where he wrote about “Golden Rose” first and more eloquently.) And don’t overlook “Everything”, with all its warmth and wistfulness, and experience the disorienting three minutes and thirteen seconds of a rarely disarmed Malzone.

If nothing else, watch this ridiculous (and ridiculously hilarious) promo video for the release show. We can’t wait to see you out there. - I Went To A Show


It was January 2012 that I reviewed a 14 track LP – Girl Talk by Middle Class Fashion and they return with another 14 track LP Jungle – set for release on the 2nd August 2013.
Opening with piano chords – Wanted – takes us into the space that is Middle Class Fashion with aplomb as the orchestration builds throughout the track and the listener is left wanting more, precisely what you need on the first track of an LP and it is some pleasure to hear the piano subsuming into synth before recomposing as the piece closes.

Stuck finds the band in a hurry up mood. Perhaps it is the feeling of being at an American version of a Chas ‘n Dave concert that draws my ears to what these guys are up to on this one, but either way, I am in a good space.

Golden Rose takes the material to a more synthetic driven space and the plethora of skills that sit within the band are exposed, as the hips are drawn into the activity.

Let Me Down wanders off to honky-tonk guitar and when combined with US surf pop you can’t but help have fun.
Holy Mother finds the band in a more serious mode as the rock definitions are given space to pour out of the speakers and the true dexterity of Middle Class Fashion is explored in the opening section of the LP.

Junk has a feel of a chorale as echoed vocal opens the piece and the track retains an ecclesiastical feel as it develops and begins to flower. An intriguing track full of contradiction betwixt keys and percussion.

So Long has a stage musical feel as the listener is shaken awake with an almost theatrical staging which the mind can envisage being performed to a Broadway backdrop.

Opening the second half of Jungle – Perfect Person allows the keys to deliver chorded sympathies to the sounds and technically this is perhaps the most challenging piece the band follow and it sits as superb testament to the ability sitting underneath the layers, a delightful track.
Cracked The Bottle intrigues me and perhaps that is because given my European ears and the breadth of influences in the band I would have expected a Celtic or French influence, but there is neither and whilst not disappointed I am not excited. I don’t quite get the connection between the title and the mood of the track.

Come Around Anytime is as near to the middle of the road as Middle Class Fashion stray and whilst I am sure there are many who will understand this, not my favourite track by a long chalk.

You’re Wrong or as the MP3s I received have it Yr Wrong - but I just can’t help myself – is a pure delight to my ears after the previous two tracks and I find myself back in-tune with what ever it may really be called and once again I understand why I suggest you spend some time with Middle Class Fashion.

Everything has an hypnotic float running through it as the band utilise pipes to deliver some sublime background texture and as so often with capable musicians it is the added dot or dash of colour that adds so much more value than would be anticipated.
As it says on the tin, Phantoms takes a more ghostly trail and the band delivers a superb piece of music as the lower notes are explored in greater detail and I find myself transfixed. My pick of the release.

Concluding with Kingdoms, Middle Class Fashion do as they did with the last LP I reviewed of theirs, save the best ’til towards the end of the LP and once again, I guess I am hanging on another release in 12 to 18 months as sadly they are based in the USA and I am not. - Indie Bands Blog


At first glance, Jungle seems like an appropriate title for Middle Class Fashion's new CD. On the band's two previous records - a self-titled EP and 2012's Girl Talk - lead singer/pianist/songwriter Jenn Malzone proved to be an expert at evoking tangled, awkward situations. So Jungle is supposed to reflect that, right?

See Also:
- Middle Class Fashion's Debut Full-Length, Girl Talk

Not exactly. "I know I'm supposed to have something very deep to say here," Malzone admits. "Here is the truth: We were in Lawrence playing the last show of a mini-tour. Katie (Lindhorst) and I both had colds, and it took everything the four of us had to gather our energy and perform. Then we started playing, and the crowd went kind of crazy. People were dancing and really getting into it. In the midst of this craziness, someone ran up and stuck a sticker on my keyboard that said, 'My Name Is JUNGLE.' I never took it off, because seeing it there made me happy. So we started calling the album Jungle almost like an inside joke."

Here's some more truth: Jungle is one of the most impressive records St. Louis is likely to produce this year. It's a remarkably solid effort that takes risks and usually succeeds. Though Malzone has been compared to Ben Folds at times for her piano-driven singer-songwriter approach (one local wag affectionately dubbed the band "Jenn Folds Five"), there's a definite power-pop flavor on at least half these songs, picking up nicely from Girl Talk songs like "Fun Whoa" and "Sugar Hrt Candy." In particular, "Let Me Down" and "Stuck" are multilayered yet hooky enough to compare with anything on the New Pornographers' first three albums.

She credits this, in part, to her experience playing in local power-pop combo Tight Pants Syndrome with MCF bassist Brian McClelland. "It's one of the most important things I've ever done," she says. "I've always had a natural tendency toward pop songwriting, but I attempted to stifle that for a long time so I could try to write darker, more experimental material. Being around Tom Stephens' songwriting influenced me to start focusing more on pop structure, hooks, melody. He made it seem effortless. He and Jeff Hess shared a lot of music with me that I hadn't heard before. I started listening to artists like R. Stevie Moore, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Sparks and weirder stuff like Captain Beefheart. I loved all of it."

At the same time, Malzone's lyrics have become both more elliptical and more confessional, with a certain nonchalant humor. Many of them sound as if they were written late at night after coming home from a show or a bar, still trying to make sense of this or that confusing interaction. However, she's still capable of being cutting and direct when necessary. On "Golden Rose," she sings, over a catchy chorus, "Tell your friend I know she is a liar/It only adds the fuel to the fire." On "Junk," she threatens in third person, "She's nothing short of compromise/She's not afraid of a good fight."

"More than anything, I think Brian, Brad (Vaughn) and I are more comfortable making music with one another on this album," Malzone says. "We've been playing together longer, and Middle Class Fashion has very much changed from being a side project to being our main project. Our hearts are in this."

Whereas McClelland recorded Girl Talk himself on his laptop, the band recorded Jungle at Sawhorse Studios with Jason McEntire. Just before recording began, Lindhorst joined the band on keyboards, percussion and backing vocals.

"I first saw her perform with her other band, the Glass Cavalry," Malzone says. "She was this little ball of energy on stage, very talented and so obviously in love with playing music. Once she joined MCF (it went kind of like 'Katie, want to join our ba-' 'Yes!'), she was adding these perfectly placed synth tones as well as tambourine, and even some vocals. Her energy and input definitely helped to expand our sound for the new album."

With the addition of Lindhorst, this means that MCF's four respective members are in about half a dozen other bands. McClelland plays in Whoa Thunder as well as Tight Pants Syndrome. Lindhorst's Glass Cavalry just released its debut album. Drummer Brad Vaughn has drummed for Union Electric, and is starting a new project with Josh Boyer. Malzone contributes to Town Cars, which recently made its vinyl debut on Extension Chords Records, and has been spotted singing and performing with Sleepy Kitty, The Defeated County, and others. It all makes sense for a band that Malzone says itself began as a side project, yet must be a nightmare when it comes to scheduling.

"I've always felt that it's a good thing for everybody to be involved in multiple projects," Malzone says. "It keeps things interesting, and it also makes each of us stronger, more adaptable musicians. Every time I play with different people, I learn things. I like the challenge of supporting other musicians, of not always being the lead singer. I think my bandmates share my philosophy. If these other projects mean the occasional scheduling conflict, we deal with it and figure it out. The benefits are far worth the occasional hassle."

Both as performers and attendees, MCF is nothing if not dedicated to the local music culture. "Being immersed in the St. Louis scene has made me grow so much as a musician," Malzone says. "There are so many great bands putting out great material; it provides a constant challenge and inspiration to me. And while I suppose that could be interpreted as competition, it feels much more like a supportive community. There's room for everybody. The first time I got to see Sleepy Kitty, I remember being so completely wowed by 'Gimme a Chantz!' that I went home and worked for hours on new songs. I love experiencing a wonderful show and also feeling that push to keep up with these talented people."

"Trying to list my favorite St. Louis musicians is impossible," she adds. "There are too many. If you ride in my car at any point, you're likely to hear Finches by Nee. Kristin Dennis has made an album that sounds just as good as the national acts being praised on Pitchfork. Langen Neubacher is one of the best songwriters I know. She creates such an eerie haunting sound that is entirely her own, while still using pop structure and writing hooks that stick to your brain. Golden Curls are absolutely a band to watch. Their song, 'Your Girl,' and their recent live shows, have them quickly becoming one of my favorite bands."

Even as Jungle dramatically and ambitiously broadens MCF's palette, Malzone remains down to earth about her ambitions. "I want to write the best songs I am capable of writing. I want to keep evolving as a musician. And I can do that by surrounding myself with talented musicians, going to shows, discovering music from bands that I didn't know existed, and most importantly, writing every day. This ultimate goal makes me feel like my life has purpose, and the journey is what makes my life interesting." - Mike Applestein/ The Riverfront Times


We spend a lot of time around here huffing and puffing our way through the dark soot of sensuous drunks just aching for the day we get invited to the cool kid basement drag king party but sometimes we find it critical to the soul and the betterment of the brain to just shut up a minute and have fun devoid of niche jeans or context. Enter Middle Class Fashion. This shit is good, clean lady synth and tsk tsk pop played uppity and recorded by professionals so as to ensure it actually sounds that way. No murmur hiss or retrofit defense nonsense. Just some kids playing shoulda been hits. Bless. - Dealer's Choice


Someday, maybe, Jenn Malzone's pen will dry up, having written dozens of sharp, biting songs about love's pitiful game of Ping-Pong. If and when that time comes, it won't be soon. About eighteen months after releasing the roundly admired Girl Talk, Malzone and her mates in Middle Class Fashion return with a fourteen-track LP and a new member in tow. Katie Lindhorst joins the band on synthesizer and backing vocals; she transmits a lot of energy onstage, but her contributions here add a little synthy ambience to the piano-driven tracks. It's neither an obtrusive nor lightweight addition — her gossamer keys on "Come Around Anytime" give body and texture to a band that has proudly made do with a straight-ahead piano/bass/drums trio. The band's debut was pointed and assured, but Jungle doubles down on the band's strengths and shows meaningful tweaks in both arrangement and Malzone's lyrical approach. She's great at slinging arrows from on high, but here she wears the romantic bull's-eye proudly.
Thanks in part to engineer Jason McEntire and his Sawhorse Studios, the production is cleaner and brighter, with little sonic filigrees throughout that were absent on the largely home-recorded debut. A track like "Junk" is, on the surface, the type of song that has come to typify MCF's style — heavy piano chords, on-point harmonies, a sticky chorus — but the arrangement here elevates the track by letting the harmonies shine like a Beach Boys breakdown. Plenty of tracks on Jungle will sound familiar to fans of Girl Talk, but "Golden Rose" stands out as the biggest shift in sound on the new album. Brian McClelland's bass playing, normally a paragon of McCartney-indebted buoyancy, gets positively slappy. That little bit of funk is matched by Lindhorst's slow-oscillating synth, which supplants the piano as the lead instrument. Maybe that's why Malzone sounds like she's pushing the urgency of the lyrics, imbuing the track with earnestness or anger or both. It's a magnetic performance and a sweet slice of dance-pop that's already received more than a few spins on community radio in town. Chances are, you won't have to work too hard to hear these songs on the air or on stages in the coming months. - The Riverfront Times


Jenn Malzone probably is tired of being compared to piano-playing troubadour Ben Folds, but if it gets people outside of St. Louis to give Middle Class Fashion a chance, we're willing to risk her wrath. Listen to "Come Around Anytime" from this year's Jungle, for example, and you can't help but recall a bit of "Army" from the late '90s. But, believe it or not, Middle Class Fashion sounds fuller than Ben Folds Five did, with guitars, bass, keys and drums that build up in a way that's even more delicious than seven-layer taco dip. And MCF absolutely bursts with flavor onstage, sweeter than a chocolate-covered cherry and more exciting than those weird hamburger doughnuts the Strange Donuts guys have come up with. We're not sure where we're going with this Ben Folds/foodie tale, but we do know this: Our ears sure do find Middle Class Fashion tasty. - The Riverfront Times


The beginning: I was in Paper Dolls with Brad [Vaughn] and Tight Pants Syndrome with Brian [McClelland]. I was writing all these songs that weren't really fitting in either band. "Middle Class Fashion" was first the title of a Paper Dolls song, and I originally thought of the new band as a Paper Dolls spin-off, maybe even a hybrid of my two bands. That changed during the process of making Girl Talk. MCF became its own entity. -- Jenn Malzone

Influences: Lately it's been Annie Clark, R. Stevie Moore, the Zombies, Mac Demarco. I'm also constantly being influenced by local songwriters Morgan Nusbaum, Paige Brubeck and Kristin Dennis. -- Malzone

Hidden talent: I can sound exactly like a baby dinosaur. -- Katie Lindhorst

Guilty pleasures: I'm not really embarrassed by it, but I love Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, stuff on the radio. (Malzone) The dumbest thing I listen to on a daily basis is the Sons of Anarchy theme song. (Vaughn)

Classic MTV-era music video they'd redo: "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar, because it's fucking awesome. (Vaughn) The grand cinematic ambitions of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf," because it is silly and fun and kind of insane. Those dudes were like 60% ambition and 40% cocaine. (McClelland) - The Riverfront Times


As KDHX reaches the end of an era and begins broadcasting from the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media in Grand Center, we're also reaching the end of 2013.

We've calculated the top spins from albums and EPs released this year. St. Louis locals Middle Class Fashion and the Blind Eyes have once again topped the list, and even more St. Louis artists are making our charts and gaining exposure through KDHX than ever before. Check out all of the great, often surprising albums you may have overlooked this year.

Don't miss our list of top local spins and of course the DJ top 10 albums of 2013 lists. And be sure to check out all the KDHX Best of 2013 coverage. There's always more great music to discover.



Spins Artist Album Label
117 Middle Class Fashion Jungle Blip Blap! - KDHX


Middle Class Fashion performs "Stuck" at the Tami Scott Studio in St. Louis.

Band members • Jenn Malzone, Brad Vaughn and Brian McClelland.

Genre, in their words • Minor Key Piano Pop

About, in their words • Tegan and Sarah scoring a Tim Burton movie with Danny Elfman

More info • middleclassfashion.com and middleclassfashion.bandcamp.com

See them perform • Middle Class Fashion just dropped its newest CD, "Girl Talk," last week. You can see the group perform live at Cicero's (6691 Delmar Boulevard) on March 10.

Special thanks to hair and makeup stylists Tami Scott, Kelly K. and Kayla Funke.

Special appearance by Rusty Oakes and Kimberly McClelland

Audio engineered by Matt Meyer

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/music/listen/middle-class-fashion-performs-live-for-listen/article_78a43a70-429f-11e1-b31b-0019bb30f31a.html#ixzz1o5HzzEb8

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Middle Class Fashion performs "Stuck" at the Tami Scott Studio in St. Louis.

Band members • Jenn Malzone, Brad Vaughn and Brian McClelland.

Genre, in their words • Minor Key Piano Pop

About, in their words • Tegan and Sarah scoring a Tim Burton movie with Danny Elfman

More info • middleclassfashion.com and middleclassfashion.bandcamp.com

See them perform • Middle Class Fashion just dropped its newest CD, "Girl Talk," last week. You can see the group perform live at Cicero's (6691 Delmar Boulevard) on March 10.

Special thanks to hair and makeup stylists Tami Scott, Kelly K. and Kayla Funke.

Special appearance by Rusty Oakes and Kimberly McClelland

Audio engineered by Matt Meyer

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/music/listen/middle-class-fashion-performs-live-for-listen/article_78a43a70-429f-11e1-b31b-0019bb30f31a.html#ixzz1o5HzzEb8

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch


A Sunday night at the Old Rock House can be a touch-and-go affair. I've been there when the band outnumbered the fans and the music bounced around like ping pong balls during bingo night at the rec center. I've also been packed in on the floor with no room to move.

Last night, the Australian duo An Horse drew a decent crowd, a fact that wasn't lost on them since they thanked us several times. St. Louis was apparently the start of a 40 stop tour and Kate Cooper seemed a bit overwhelmed and slightly sad.

I think we forget how much work musicians actually do when they tour. Most of it isn't glamorous and all of it isn't home, but that aside, these two are going to have fun. They have a devoted fan base and extra doses of the typical Aussie "can do." If they started out a little bumpy in St. Louis, I'm pretty sure they're going to hit their stride in Chicago.

I'll get back to An Horse in a second, but first a bit about the opening band Middle Class Fashion.

Last night was the first time I caught the St. Louis band's show, but it's a good one. If they seem familiar that's because they are: Half the band play in the Paper Dolls and the other half play in Tight Pants Syndrome, with Jenn Malzone bridging the two. She sings and bangs on her keyboard with the enthusiasm of a happy, sugar-high kid (the best kind). I loved "My Attack," in which she flat handed chords like playful biatch slaps for a staccato effect. But really the whole set was fantastic and fun. If you get a chance to see them play, in any of the bands many manifestations, don't pass it up.

An Horse is a much different style, not so much fun filled, as angsty with a touch of leave me alone, wait don't go. Reading the lyrics now, a day after the show, I'm struck by how depressing some of the songs are. "Airport Death" is pretty much about pessimism and tragedy. While "Company" is essentially the struggle to maintain a brave face against mounting fears.

The material belies their engaging stage presence, but it's sincere -- never self-indulgent or overly broody. "Company" in particular is a great example of their style. It's plaintive and powerful, and when Kate sings, "I'm trying to be brave," you want her to succeed.

If you choose to, you can read into those lyrics and get the sense they are at profound odds with the displacement that comes with touring and traveling. There's a persistent longing to Kate's refrains and comforting reassurance with Damien Cox's harmonies. They obviously depend on one another way beyond just the music, as fellow journeymen, friends and refugees far from home.
- 88.1 KDHX


A Sunday night at the Old Rock House can be a touch-and-go affair. I've been there when the band outnumbered the fans and the music bounced around like ping pong balls during bingo night at the rec center. I've also been packed in on the floor with no room to move.

Last night, the Australian duo An Horse drew a decent crowd, a fact that wasn't lost on them since they thanked us several times. St. Louis was apparently the start of a 40 stop tour and Kate Cooper seemed a bit overwhelmed and slightly sad.

I think we forget how much work musicians actually do when they tour. Most of it isn't glamorous and all of it isn't home, but that aside, these two are going to have fun. They have a devoted fan base and extra doses of the typical Aussie "can do." If they started out a little bumpy in St. Louis, I'm pretty sure they're going to hit their stride in Chicago.

I'll get back to An Horse in a second, but first a bit about the opening band Middle Class Fashion.

Last night was the first time I caught the St. Louis band's show, but it's a good one. If they seem familiar that's because they are: Half the band play in the Paper Dolls and the other half play in Tight Pants Syndrome, with Jenn Malzone bridging the two. She sings and bangs on her keyboard with the enthusiasm of a happy, sugar-high kid (the best kind). I loved "My Attack," in which she flat handed chords like playful biatch slaps for a staccato effect. But really the whole set was fantastic and fun. If you get a chance to see them play, in any of the bands many manifestations, don't pass it up.

An Horse is a much different style, not so much fun filled, as angsty with a touch of leave me alone, wait don't go. Reading the lyrics now, a day after the show, I'm struck by how depressing some of the songs are. "Airport Death" is pretty much about pessimism and tragedy. While "Company" is essentially the struggle to maintain a brave face against mounting fears.

The material belies their engaging stage presence, but it's sincere -- never self-indulgent or overly broody. "Company" in particular is a great example of their style. It's plaintive and powerful, and when Kate sings, "I'm trying to be brave," you want her to succeed.

If you choose to, you can read into those lyrics and get the sense they are at profound odds with the displacement that comes with touring and traveling. There's a persistent longing to Kate's refrains and comforting reassurance with Damien Cox's harmonies. They obviously depend on one another way beyond just the music, as fellow journeymen, friends and refugees far from home.
- 88.1 KDHX


Between her work with Tight Pants Syndrome, the Paper Dolls and Middle Class Fashion, vocalist/keyboardist Jenn Malzone has released dozens of songs in the past twelve months. If her various projects hardly stray from power pop, it's because she embodies the phrase. Her powerful pipes never pull back to manufacture cutesiness or vulnerability, and she never strains her breezy alto into a growl to contradict pop's friendliness. Malzone's middle-of-the-road delivery is not unlike Neko Case's confident crooning; both sound excellent when double-tracked in the studio, and both are universal enough to avoid a write-off as an "acquired taste." Jenn Malzone deals in quantity and quality. Few make such prolificacy seem so effortless. - Riverfront Times


Between her work with Tight Pants Syndrome, the Paper Dolls and Middle Class Fashion, vocalist/keyboardist Jenn Malzone has released dozens of songs in the past twelve months. If her various projects hardly stray from power pop, it's because she embodies the phrase. Her powerful pipes never pull back to manufacture cutesiness or vulnerability, and she never strains her breezy alto into a growl to contradict pop's friendliness. Malzone's middle-of-the-road delivery is not unlike Neko Case's confident crooning; both sound excellent when double-tracked in the studio, and both are universal enough to avoid a write-off as an "acquired taste." Jenn Malzone deals in quantity and quality. Few make such prolificacy seem so effortless. - Riverfront Times


Nestled in St. Lous in Missouri in the US of A…. no I am not going all poetic. Middle Class Fashion a trio comprising of Jenn, Brad and Brian have a new LP Girl Talk released on 14th January 2012.
A 14 track release, Girl Talk opens with Lightning Bugs – Immediately we find this is an album with a story to tell, as the slow opener sets the scene to the album. Piano accompanies the harmonised vocal. Don’t get that wrong, one of my favourite LPs of all time is by Sham 69 ‘That’s Life‘ their debut album followed a ‘day in the life’, makes for a sublime album when done in the right way and already with Middle Class Fashion I am in the space.

Powder Blue finds the tempo steps up a pace and I can hear the war-paint going on – This looks like a fiery day as the acerbic lyric slices like hydrochloric acid in contempt.

My Attack opens with similar keys, a little more jolly than may be expected, but a point well made. The concept of Middle Class Fashion is one of that self-effacing diatribe. Who said Americans don’t understand irony?

The guitars are let loose on Fun Whoa as the day breaks to a less introspective space.

Jamie finds a new dual vocal plaintiff to an even more classic construct as guitar and drum come to the fore. The use of the second male vocal adds a layer of depth and the band come together far more instrumentally, this is a decent story, stick with it.

The title track – Girl Talk – has some wonderful construction as Middle Class Fashion head out of the woods to let their hair run free, we find some natural space in which the band resonate.

Abomination picks up the theatrical constructs from earlier in the album. I have a sense we have classically trained musicians and a visual band here, as the storyline develops towards the half-time curtain.

Vacation opens the second-act with the tempo raised and the listener looks forward to the story unfolding.

July 31st – and the band take us to another stage setting with a reminiscence as the depth song-writing skills are permitted to come to the fore. The construction here is sublime.

Piano, percussion and vocal sit with equal power on Griffin as the band head towards the final section of the album, the real strengths come bouncing out of the speakers, I did say sit with this.

Will Barbarella live up to the expectations now raised? Once again the band play in harmony and the whole construction is making sense. I am happy to wait for the abilities of the band to be given space to develop, but will the short term concentration, now so prevalent allow this indulgence, of that I am not so sure, but it is that short span which misses out on so much.

Sugar Heart Candy, does exactly as you would expect on the tin. Popping corn in the saucepan comes lightly floating out in to the room. I wish Middle Class Fashion had arrived here earlier, the album is on a roll, but we only have two more tracks to go.

The penultimate track is another delightful tune, Sweet is the pinnacle of a superb release, which in my perspective took too long to showcase the superb abilities of the band.

Girl Talk finishes with Birthday, which resonates with piano, bass and vocal. A lyric sheers away façades as the music develops an ever present cloud. - Indie Bands Blog


Nestled in St. Lous in Missouri in the US of A…. no I am not going all poetic. Middle Class Fashion a trio comprising of Jenn, Brad and Brian have a new LP Girl Talk released on 14th January 2012.
A 14 track release, Girl Talk opens with Lightning Bugs – Immediately we find this is an album with a story to tell, as the slow opener sets the scene to the album. Piano accompanies the harmonised vocal. Don’t get that wrong, one of my favourite LPs of all time is by Sham 69 ‘That’s Life‘ their debut album followed a ‘day in the life’, makes for a sublime album when done in the right way and already with Middle Class Fashion I am in the space.

Powder Blue finds the tempo steps up a pace and I can hear the war-paint going on – This looks like a fiery day as the acerbic lyric slices like hydrochloric acid in contempt.

My Attack opens with similar keys, a little more jolly than may be expected, but a point well made. The concept of Middle Class Fashion is one of that self-effacing diatribe. Who said Americans don’t understand irony?

The guitars are let loose on Fun Whoa as the day breaks to a less introspective space.

Jamie finds a new dual vocal plaintiff to an even more classic construct as guitar and drum come to the fore. The use of the second male vocal adds a layer of depth and the band come together far more instrumentally, this is a decent story, stick with it.

The title track – Girl Talk – has some wonderful construction as Middle Class Fashion head out of the woods to let their hair run free, we find some natural space in which the band resonate.

Abomination picks up the theatrical constructs from earlier in the album. I have a sense we have classically trained musicians and a visual band here, as the storyline develops towards the half-time curtain.

Vacation opens the second-act with the tempo raised and the listener looks forward to the story unfolding.

July 31st – and the band take us to another stage setting with a reminiscence as the depth song-writing skills are permitted to come to the fore. The construction here is sublime.

Piano, percussion and vocal sit with equal power on Griffin as the band head towards the final section of the album, the real strengths come bouncing out of the speakers, I did say sit with this.

Will Barbarella live up to the expectations now raised? Once again the band play in harmony and the whole construction is making sense. I am happy to wait for the abilities of the band to be given space to develop, but will the short term concentration, now so prevalent allow this indulgence, of that I am not so sure, but it is that short span which misses out on so much.

Sugar Heart Candy, does exactly as you would expect on the tin. Popping corn in the saucepan comes lightly floating out in to the room. I wish Middle Class Fashion had arrived here earlier, the album is on a roll, but we only have two more tracks to go.

The penultimate track is another delightful tune, Sweet is the pinnacle of a superb release, which in my perspective took too long to showcase the superb abilities of the band.

Girl Talk finishes with Birthday, which resonates with piano, bass and vocal. A lyric sheers away façades as the music develops an ever present cloud. - Indie Bands Blog


In 2012, I’m going to venture in to some new territory with an occasional album review. The catalyst for this review arrived in my inbox on January 5th. Jenn Malzone, of the band Middle Class Fashion, sent me a copy of the band’s upcoming release Girl Talk. As most know, I do my best work in-person, so a quick check of the calendar revealed I would be working my real job on the night of the release party. Damn the luck. Alright, guess I’ll give the album a listen and maybe catch the band on a different night.


From the opening notes of “Lightning Bugs”, I knew this band needed some press. The band was formed in early 2010 by Jenn Malzone (vocals/keyboards) and Brad Vaughn (drums), two bandmates from the St. Louis-based band, Paper Dolls. A third bandmate, from Malzone’s other band Tight Pants Syndrome, Brian McClelland (bass) was acquired to round out this trio. The band’s website describes their sound as “Tegan and Sarah scoring a Tim Burton movie with Danny Elfman. Couldn’t have said it better myself. As I said, the first track, “Lightning Bugs”, caught my attention with its catchy piano line and witty lyrics which explore the possibility of trapping feelings in a jar like lightning bugs. “Powder Blue” follows with an equally attractive piano piece and Malzone’s voice hypnotizes on this number. The third track is a song entitled “My Attack”, which is intended to be a mean song but leaves one with the feel of a 70’s TV show theme-song and overall groovyness. The fun police and 80’s keyboards are summoned for “Fun Whoa”, a song about a good time that was had, but now I’m moving on. The male vocals have a chance to blend with Malzone’s on “Jamie” and the boys do a respectable job.


Next up, the title track “Girl Talk”, which briefly sums up all of the things that girls yak about and all of the emotions involved. “Abomination” has a great mix of a Gilbert and Sullivan piano, Dresden Dolls vocals, and 70’s synthesizer. After the track “Vacation” my second favorite song on this alubm can be found, ” July 31st”. This song has a dark feel which is brought to life through Malzone’s vocals and an eerie-sounding piano score. The tenth and eleventh tracks, “Griffin” and ”Barbarella” respectively, are in a perfect spot on the album as they are a couple of the weaker numbers found on this production. “Sugar Hrt Candy” brings it back to life with the band’s signature pop sound and great opening lyric, “You’re my sugar heart candy/just give me cavities/It’s pretty clear you’re no good for me”. The album comes to a peaceful end with Malzone toning down her vocals for the final two tracks, “Sweet” and “Birthday”. A fair number of three-piece bands, in my opinion, often have holes in their sound but this full length album should be a model for other three-piece bands to follow. With a full, rich sound and a rare playfulness, Middle Class Fashion brings a breath of fresh air to the St. Louis music scene.

The album is set for release on January 14th. The album release and show with Scarlet Tanager and Cassie Morgan + the Lonely Pine will be held at Foam Coffee & Beer. Don't forget to check out (and download for free) their debut EP on their Facebook BandPage.

- Music Taster's Choice


In 2012, I’m going to venture in to some new territory with an occasional album review. The catalyst for this review arrived in my inbox on January 5th. Jenn Malzone, of the band Middle Class Fashion, sent me a copy of the band’s upcoming release Girl Talk. As most know, I do my best work in-person, so a quick check of the calendar revealed I would be working my real job on the night of the release party. Damn the luck. Alright, guess I’ll give the album a listen and maybe catch the band on a different night.


From the opening notes of “Lightning Bugs”, I knew this band needed some press. The band was formed in early 2010 by Jenn Malzone (vocals/keyboards) and Brad Vaughn (drums), two bandmates from the St. Louis-based band, Paper Dolls. A third bandmate, from Malzone’s other band Tight Pants Syndrome, Brian McClelland (bass) was acquired to round out this trio. The band’s website describes their sound as “Tegan and Sarah scoring a Tim Burton movie with Danny Elfman. Couldn’t have said it better myself. As I said, the first track, “Lightning Bugs”, caught my attention with its catchy piano line and witty lyrics which explore the possibility of trapping feelings in a jar like lightning bugs. “Powder Blue” follows with an equally attractive piano piece and Malzone’s voice hypnotizes on this number. The third track is a song entitled “My Attack”, which is intended to be a mean song but leaves one with the feel of a 70’s TV show theme-song and overall groovyness. The fun police and 80’s keyboards are summoned for “Fun Whoa”, a song about a good time that was had, but now I’m moving on. The male vocals have a chance to blend with Malzone’s on “Jamie” and the boys do a respectable job.


Next up, the title track “Girl Talk”, which briefly sums up all of the things that girls yak about and all of the emotions involved. “Abomination” has a great mix of a Gilbert and Sullivan piano, Dresden Dolls vocals, and 70’s synthesizer. After the track “Vacation” my second favorite song on this alubm can be found, ” July 31st”. This song has a dark feel which is brought to life through Malzone’s vocals and an eerie-sounding piano score. The tenth and eleventh tracks, “Griffin” and ”Barbarella” respectively, are in a perfect spot on the album as they are a couple of the weaker numbers found on this production. “Sugar Hrt Candy” brings it back to life with the band’s signature pop sound and great opening lyric, “You’re my sugar heart candy/just give me cavities/It’s pretty clear you’re no good for me”. The album comes to a peaceful end with Malzone toning down her vocals for the final two tracks, “Sweet” and “Birthday”. A fair number of three-piece bands, in my opinion, often have holes in their sound but this full length album should be a model for other three-piece bands to follow. With a full, rich sound and a rare playfulness, Middle Class Fashion brings a breath of fresh air to the St. Louis music scene.

The album is set for release on January 14th. The album release and show with Scarlet Tanager and Cassie Morgan + the Lonely Pine will be held at Foam Coffee & Beer. Don't forget to check out (and download for free) their debut EP on their Facebook BandPage.

- Music Taster's Choice


As musical projects go, St. Louis-based Middle Class Fashion falls into the category of what is attainable by shuffling the deck, seeking out new angles and placing trust in the musicians with whom you are working.

On January 14, the self-described “weird piano group,” released their début full-length album, Girl Talk, on Blip! Blap! Records.

In 201o, singer/pianist Jenn Malzone decided she needed a new creative outlet for her work. As a member of two other St. Louis bands Malzone said she formed yet another “to create an avenue for my songs that didn’t seem to fit as well with the other bands.” Tapping Brad Vaughn from her baroque pop project Paper Dolls to switch from bass guitar to drums and bassist Brian McClelland from the indie pop Tight Pants Syndrome, Malzone found a chemistry that allowed her to quickly craft ideas and realize results in a short amount of time. The group released a self-titled EP, but continued over the next year to work at the project. “With Brad and Brian’s aptitude and enthusiasm for learning and developing new material we were able to speed up the creative process in a way we weren’t able to in the other bands — basically, to write a song on Monday, learn it on Wednesday and play it in front of an audience on Friday,” explained Malzone.

The tightly crafted indie pop songs on Girl Talk contain plenty of strong hooks and melodies to reel in the listener. The vocal harmonies add a lightness while the minor keys stand the pop vernacular on its ear as classical undertones peek through to fill in the edges. Malzone’s piano playing conjures a Broadway style flair for the dramatic that adds depth and richness to what might otherwise come off as bubblegum pop.

Conversely, the tight arrangements keep the album’s running time to scant 37 minutes. The group achieves this as twelve of the fourteen songs clock in at less than three minutes. In contrast, many albums of the past 20 years with that same number of songs run close to double that total running time.

Further, the production does not overwhelm the ears with a busy sonic atmosphere. While far from sparse open sound landscapes, the group shied away from the typical “Wall of Sound” tribute. The simplicity of the main trio is supplemented at times by overdubs of strings, guitar and a casiotone keyboard.

Malzone possesses a breathy Liz Phair style vocal delivery that carries an appropriate amount of snark, which works well with the band’s blend of pop and rock. While her vocal range is nothing special, the timing of her singing is spot on. Plus, the attitude in her voice resonates and her smart ass lyrical style owes much to singer Jenny Lewis.
McClelland’s fuzzed-out bass lines and Vaughn’s roaring drums on the opening bars of “Powder Blue” easily bring to mind Ben Folds Five though without some of the wry lyrical wit and undeniable piano chops Folds possesses. Across many of the other songs on the album, other obvious comparisons surface for the listener: Regina Spektor, Tegan & Sara and the band of the aforementioned Lewis, Rilo Kiley, come to mind.

Lyrically, Malzone writes in a poetic journal style that reveals a love life filled with stupid, self-absorbed men that don’t understand the complexities of the female emotional condition. “In your nice neat life, there’s me outside, I can’t see clear,” she sings in the opener “Lightning Bugs.” On “My Attack”, however, she becomes more blunt – “I don’t think I like you anymore like that./Starting today when I see you I will look away /Now, every time I see you I will look away/take that.”

The sentiment continues on “Fun Whoa” where Malzone lampoons a love relationship with a fellow hipster musician that is ending. Written from the perspective of one of the participants this is not the jilted lovers’ track. The narrator, resigned to the fact the relationship is over, recaps to her former lover in a break up tone of “well duh.” She sings the stinging assessment, “You only liked me for my hooks/I only liked you for your albums and books/Your daydream record was released/I much prefer you on the CD sleeve.” Clearly, Malzone’s protagonists are still dealing with young, immature boys still looking for that one experienced man to spend the rest of their life with.
“Jamie” begins with a signature blended vocal right out of the Folds songbook. The harmonies between McClellan and Malzone shine brightest here as the two share lead vocals on the only co-written track on the album. Drummer Vaughn even adds a rare guitar solo for the album that strangely sounds reminiscent of a Steve Hackett solo culled from an early Genesis record — I have the solo in “The Musical Box” specifically in mind. Before you dismiss the comparison give a listen to the dramatic progressive rock during the early period before Peter Gabriel left the band.

Recorded by Jimi Gunn at Brewhouse Studios, the album from beginning to end is a labor of love crafted from the Gateway City. While Malzone is re - 3 Minute Record


As musical projects go, St. Louis-based Middle Class Fashion falls into the category of what is attainable by shuffling the deck, seeking out new angles and placing trust in the musicians with whom you are working.

On January 14, the self-described “weird piano group,” released their début full-length album, Girl Talk, on Blip! Blap! Records.

In 201o, singer/pianist Jenn Malzone decided she needed a new creative outlet for her work. As a member of two other St. Louis bands Malzone said she formed yet another “to create an avenue for my songs that didn’t seem to fit as well with the other bands.” Tapping Brad Vaughn from her baroque pop project Paper Dolls to switch from bass guitar to drums and bassist Brian McClelland from the indie pop Tight Pants Syndrome, Malzone found a chemistry that allowed her to quickly craft ideas and realize results in a short amount of time. The group released a self-titled EP, but continued over the next year to work at the project. “With Brad and Brian’s aptitude and enthusiasm for learning and developing new material we were able to speed up the creative process in a way we weren’t able to in the other bands — basically, to write a song on Monday, learn it on Wednesday and play it in front of an audience on Friday,” explained Malzone.

The tightly crafted indie pop songs on Girl Talk contain plenty of strong hooks and melodies to reel in the listener. The vocal harmonies add a lightness while the minor keys stand the pop vernacular on its ear as classical undertones peek through to fill in the edges. Malzone’s piano playing conjures a Broadway style flair for the dramatic that adds depth and richness to what might otherwise come off as bubblegum pop.

Conversely, the tight arrangements keep the album’s running time to scant 37 minutes. The group achieves this as twelve of the fourteen songs clock in at less than three minutes. In contrast, many albums of the past 20 years with that same number of songs run close to double that total running time.

Further, the production does not overwhelm the ears with a busy sonic atmosphere. While far from sparse open sound landscapes, the group shied away from the typical “Wall of Sound” tribute. The simplicity of the main trio is supplemented at times by overdubs of strings, guitar and a casiotone keyboard.

Malzone possesses a breathy Liz Phair style vocal delivery that carries an appropriate amount of snark, which works well with the band’s blend of pop and rock. While her vocal range is nothing special, the timing of her singing is spot on. Plus, the attitude in her voice resonates and her smart ass lyrical style owes much to singer Jenny Lewis.
McClelland’s fuzzed-out bass lines and Vaughn’s roaring drums on the opening bars of “Powder Blue” easily bring to mind Ben Folds Five though without some of the wry lyrical wit and undeniable piano chops Folds possesses. Across many of the other songs on the album, other obvious comparisons surface for the listener: Regina Spektor, Tegan & Sara and the band of the aforementioned Lewis, Rilo Kiley, come to mind.

Lyrically, Malzone writes in a poetic journal style that reveals a love life filled with stupid, self-absorbed men that don’t understand the complexities of the female emotional condition. “In your nice neat life, there’s me outside, I can’t see clear,” she sings in the opener “Lightning Bugs.” On “My Attack”, however, she becomes more blunt – “I don’t think I like you anymore like that./Starting today when I see you I will look away /Now, every time I see you I will look away/take that.”

The sentiment continues on “Fun Whoa” where Malzone lampoons a love relationship with a fellow hipster musician that is ending. Written from the perspective of one of the participants this is not the jilted lovers’ track. The narrator, resigned to the fact the relationship is over, recaps to her former lover in a break up tone of “well duh.” She sings the stinging assessment, “You only liked me for my hooks/I only liked you for your albums and books/Your daydream record was released/I much prefer you on the CD sleeve.” Clearly, Malzone’s protagonists are still dealing with young, immature boys still looking for that one experienced man to spend the rest of their life with.
“Jamie” begins with a signature blended vocal right out of the Folds songbook. The harmonies between McClellan and Malzone shine brightest here as the two share lead vocals on the only co-written track on the album. Drummer Vaughn even adds a rare guitar solo for the album that strangely sounds reminiscent of a Steve Hackett solo culled from an early Genesis record — I have the solo in “The Musical Box” specifically in mind. Before you dismiss the comparison give a listen to the dramatic progressive rock during the early period before Peter Gabriel left the band.

Recorded by Jimi Gunn at Brewhouse Studios, the album from beginning to end is a labor of love crafted from the Gateway City. While Malzone is re - 3 Minute Record


Middle Class Fashion's three members are no newcomers to the local music scene. Singers Brad Vaughn and Jenn Malzone of Paper Dolls founded the group, while Brian McClelland became the duo's drummer later, after playing with Malzone in Tight Pants Syndrome. With Middle Class Fashion, the musicians have stripped down their sound and put the focus on their vocal harmonies, while still maintaining the fun, lighthearted feel of their other work.

"Girl Talk" as a whole has a theatrical quality both in its lyrics and composition. The tracks have a narrative tone to them, with songs like "Jamie" and "Vacation" coming on like playful musical rants on love and friendship that fit well with the album's title. The dramatic feel of the lyrics are echoed by the piano, which constantly builds in intensity before suddenly backing off and conveys a sense of urgency with repeating chords. The title track combines more piano with punctuated bass drum and cymbal crashes for a rock-inspired feel that gives variety and character to a fun and engaging album.

On the KDHX Charts: #3 on CMJ for January 10, 2012.

This album can be heard on: Pop! The Beat Bubble Burst, Mystery Train and the Mixtape. - 88.1 KDHX


Discography

Middle Class Fashion EP (Blip! Blap! Records + Tapes) - November, 2010

Girl Talk LP (Blip! Blap! Records + Tapes) - January, 2012

Sentimental Singles Xmas EP (Blip! Blap! Records + Tapes) - December, 2012

Jungle LP (Blip! Blap! Records + Tapes) - September, 2013

"Focus" Tower Groove Records split single w/ Sleepy Kitty - December, 2013

Photos

Bio


Middle Class Fashion Touring Regionally Behind Recently Released LP Jungle; Recording New EP for 2015 Release


Jungle LP Featured on NPR’s This American Life, Top Daytrotter Session, Most Played Local and National Album of 2013 on KDHX 88.1 FM

St. Louis pop band Middle Class Fashion came out of the gate strong with their 2012 debut full-length LP Girl Talk, winning the band accolades, airplay, and surprisingly strong sales abroad.

A year later, the band's knockout sophomore LP, Jungle - funded entirely by those aforementioned sales overseas - arrived a bittersweet valentine of grand, Spector-esque pop. A quick hit with fans and critics, it was immediately hailed as "one of the most impressive records St. Louis is likely to produce this year." True to prediction, Jungle became 88.1 KDHX's #1 most spun local and national album of 2013. A track from Jungle was featured on a January 2014 episode of NPR’s This American Life, exposing the band to a wider number of national fans who wrote kind emails and tweeted about discovering MCF from the show.
Vocalist/keyboardist Jenn Malzone’s vocals exist somewhere between the precocious tones of Regina Spektor and Neko Case’s confident delivery. The band moves from minor key piano pop into a wall of sound built out of blood, sweat, and synth. Never more confident as performers, Middle Class Fashion's lineup - including bassist Brian McClelland, synth player Katie Lindhorst, and drummer Brad Vaughn - is energized and enthusiastic about presenting its newest batch of material. You'll never see a band happier to take a stage.


With two successful LPs released locally and a small taste of national success, MCF is ready to fully break out on a national level. The band is currently working with Phat Buddha Studios to put the finishing touches on an EP to be released in 2015, and will be touring nationally to promote it. Featuring some of MCF’s strongest material to date, the EP will consist of synth-heavy pop anthems with a secret dark side.



MCF
has been lucky enough to share a stage with Of Montreal, Jill Sobule, An Horse, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, the Cliks, Bitch, and many others. Strong advocates of the LGBTQIA community, the band played multiple Pride festivals regionally over the past two summers, and plans to expand their Pride Fest tour for the summer of 2015.

Video for dance pop song Golden Rose: http://youtu.be/qUodVV7VFJ8

Link to piano pop song Wanted: https://soundcloud.com/middle-class-fashion/wanted

Band Members