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Byron Coley

Byron Coley

American music critic who wrote prominently for Forced Exposure magazine in the '80s. Also wrote for NY Rocker, Boston Rock, and Take It!. Coley is one of the first writers to have extensively documented indie rock from its inception to the present day. Coley was a contributing writer to Spin in the 1980s and '90s, and currently writes for The Wire and Arthur magazine with Thurston Moore. He also runs Ecstatic Yod, a record label and shop based in Florence, Massachusetts. In 2011, Coley published the first collection of his reviews, C'est la guerre : Early Writings 1978-1983 in a bilingual edition put out by Montreal publisher L'Oie de Cravan.

Byron Coley's C'est La Guerre

List of articles in the library by artist

45 Grave, Vox Pop: California Screamin': 45 Grave and Vox Pop

Profile and Interview by Byron Coley, New York Rocker, September 1982

"All I can say is that everyone in Vox Pop is smarter than everyone in 45 Grave."--Jeff Dahl, May '82"I'm smarter than everyone in Vox ...

8-Eyed Spy, Lydia Lunch, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks: Way Out West With 8-Eyed Spy

Report by Byron Coley, New York Rocker, May 1980

IF LYDIA LUNCH'S Queen Of Siam hadn't come out when it did, I'd probably still be freezin' my butt off in Ketchum, Idaho, a town ...

GG Allin: Underground: GG Allin

Guide by Byron Coley, Spin, August 1987

FIRST things first. Just as 1986 was the Year of the 'Steen, 1987 is gonna be the Year of GG Allin. ...

John Cale, Lou Reed: Lou Reed and John Cale: Deja VU

Comment by Byron Coley, Spin, April 1989

POPULAR RUMOR has long held that Lou Reed and John Cale are mortal enemies. ...

Captain Beefheart: Grow Fins: Rarities (1965-1982)

Review by Byron Coley, Wire, May 1999

ALTHOUGH IT WAS their third released album, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band arrived with 1969's sprawling Trout Mask Replica. The ability to appreciate its ...

Captain Beefheart: Three Decades Inside The Mask: Captain Beefheart

Retrospective and Interview by Byron Coley, unpublished, December 1999

NOTE: This article appeared in a much-shortened version in the December 1999 edition of Spin entitled "The Strangest Album Ever Sold: The Making Of Trout ...

Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys: Circle Jerks: Wonderful (Combat Core)/Dead Kennedys: Frankenchrist (Alternative Tentacles)

Review by Byron Coley, Spin, February 1986

THE Circle Jerks and Dead Kennedys are two of a handfulla bands surviving in name and form from the first three waves of California-style pre-hardcore ...

Divine Horsemen: Devil's River/Mother's Worry (SST)

Review by Byron Coley, Spin, June 1987

WHILE dim bulbs and babes still a-swaddling may not be familiar with the work of Chris D, it's a fairly safe bet that most practicing ...

John Fahey: The Persecutions And Resurrections Of Blind Joe Death

Profile and Interview by Byron Coley, Spin, November 1994

More than 30 years of mind-blowing guitar playing and composing have earned John Fahey a hip handful of devoted fans and a squalid room in ...

Fungus Brains: Ron Pisto's Real World Mini-LP (Aus, Max Music)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, Summer 1985

...RP's RW apparently came out a coupla yrs ago. But I never heard of it before so I figured that maybe you never did either. ...

Hampton Grease Band: Music To Eat

Review by Byron Coley, Spin, June 1996

THE HAMPTON GREASE BAND were an Atlanta-based combo unlike any other. A genuinely strange and Southern-fried cross between the early Mothers of Invention, the Grateful ...

Husker Du: Hüsker Dü: Land Speed Record (New Alliance)

Review by Byron Coley, New York Rocker, 1982

FRENCH REVOLUTIONARIES of the 19th century had an interestin' way of equippin' their "human bombs." ...

Daniel Johnston: Hi, How Are You (Homestead Records)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, Summer 1989

HOMESTEAD'S DECISION TO release this album, after Blast First decided to drop it at the 11th hour, has generated a lotta interesting correspondence. ...

Killdozer: Burl (Touch and Go Records)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, 1987

HOLY holy holy. ...

Killdozer: Snake Boy (Touch and Go Records)

Review by Byron Coley, Matter, June 1986

JESUS. It's as if ya fell asleep chained to the carcass of a standard-sized poodle and woke up to find yr leg harnassed to a ...

The Meatmen: Meatmen, The: Crippled Children Suck (Touch & Go)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, 1991

…IT WOULD BE safe to say that the material on this LP (a reprise of the band's second EP + a variety of live seepage ...

The Meatmen: War Of The Superbikes (Homestead)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, Winter 1986

TESCO VEE is a sick yake. ...

The Minutemen: Minute By Minutemen

Profile and Interview by Byron Coley, Spin, December 1985

The jazz-power-punk trio from San Pedro is trying its damnedest to sell out — sort of. ...

The Minutemen: 3-Way Tie (For Last) (SST)

Review by Byron Coley, Spin, April 1986

FATE SUCKS. And this this is not meant to be read in the Bob Christgau suck-is-good meaning of the word either. ...

The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers LP (Rhino)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, 1987

THIS RE-ISH of the basic, essential, first Mod Lovers LP also includes 'Government Center' (from the Chartbusters comp), the Warners version of 'I'm Straight' and ...

Pussy Galore: Groovy Hate Fuck EP (Shove)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, 1987

SIMULTANEOUSLY more rockin' & more fruitily pseudo-gnarly than their debut, this takes a certain type of flake aggression to its virtual lyrical limit. ...

Royal Trux: Royal Trux (Royal)

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, Summer 1989

 …IT WAS my (apparently erroneous) belief that Jon & Julia were the primary form-disrupters in Pussy Galore. ...

Sonic Youth

Interview by Byron Coley, Spin, August 1985

Hear a rumbling from Manhattan's Lower East Side? That's Sonic Youth's squall of the wild ...

Spacemen 3: Urine Salesmen Of The Apocalpyse [sic]

Interview by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, Fall 1988

SWEETLY, simply put, Spacemen 3 are the only English band that I'd walk across the street to piss on. Meaning mostly that I wouldn't even ...

Sun Ra: Holiday For Soul Dance; Jazz In Silhouette; Monorails and Satellites; Sound Sun Pleasure!!; Super-Sonic Jazz

Review by Byron Coley, Forced Exposure, 1993

…SUN RA is one of the truly legendary figures of modern jazz. He's led his Arkestra for better than 30 years and in that time ...

List of genre pieces

The Boy Looked At Johnny by Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill (Pluto Press)

Book Review by Byron Coley, New York Rocker, June 1979

 "Hell hath no snapping fury like an angry chipmunk." —Jesus The Good Book "I live on hate more than noodles." —Louis Ferdinand Celine Castle To Castle ...

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