Listen to Violent Change’s Beautiful and Weary Loner Pop

The Bay Area band led by Matt Bleyle, have just released their third album of lo-fi, heart-on-sleeve pop.

by Tim Scott
17 September 2016, 1:39am

From the fidgety garage punk of Abi Yoyos and Sopors, to the hardcore of Caged Animal with Tony Molina, to the indie pop of Rat Columns​ with David West, Matt Bleyle has long been an important part of the Bay Area music scene. 

Violent Change​ has been Bleyle's outlet for heart-on-sleeve hazy pop and as the title suggests VC3, is his third LP. Though lo-fi in execution, it's very much hi-fi in heartfelt authenticity. Guided By Voices has been mentioned in reviews, as has Chris Bell's I Am the Cosmos, I'd like to add Chris Knox and Ray Davies.

But Bleyle very much brings his own take on busted and fragile pop. Though the current band consists of Jess Sylvester, Alexa Pantalone and Stanley Martinez, from Bay Area favorites Rays and Life Stinks, it is Bleyle's heart that bleeds across all 11-songs on VC3.

​A co-release between It Takes Two and Melters labels VC3 is available now.​

Listen to the second track "Unit A". It' a song that bursts with fuzz and distorted vocals but the weary and lonesome Roy Orbison like sentiment is never lost. 

Noisey: Where was/is Unit A?
Matt Bleyle: Unit A is not really a place. It could be a hospital wing, or a place you go when you're asleep.

You are a San Francisco band that has played with Flipper. Is that like an Aussie band playing with ACDC?
Yes, it's like playing with ACDC if David Yow was on vocals. We aren't really a San Francisco band anymore but our bass player lives there.

Your first EP was on Melters. You are now back with them. What brings you back? Service with a smile? 

I love Thomas and Eli that run Melters. It Takes Two co released the new record with them and they've been putting out great stuff. I don't feel like I ever left them really they've always been around to help me out.   

You used to work at Amoeba. Did many people ask what was in your bag?
I worked at the San Francisco Amoeba on Haight Street for several years. I never got asked what was in my bag because you have to be a celebrity to get asked that. That'd be cool if they asked employees though. I saw a lot of those segments being filmed like Mos Def and Elijah Wood.  

You used to play in punk band Psycho 78. What were the early days like?
I met the singer, Bobby Adopted of Psycho 78 in a Safeway parking lot near where I went to high school. He was looking for a drummer for his band that he said sounded like the Sex Pistols and Minor Threat, so I was pretty down. I was hanging out with my friend Shawn who had a mohawk so I guess he figured we might know someone. It didn't really end up sounding like either of those bands but it was cool. The guys in the band were several years older than me so I got hold of a fake ID so I could play bars with them. We opened for the Partisans one time. We practiced in a grange box with a bunch of mariachi bands right across the freeway from San Quentin and sometimes we'd have shows there. I remember people breathing fire and rolling around in broken glass and we might've been kicked out for that.    

'VC3' is available now though Melters​ and It Takes Two​.

​Lead image: Ringo Rock Yay