What the hell is No Expectations?
No Expectations is a weekly music and culture blog from Chicago-based writer Josh Terry. This will be a place for music, movie, and TV recommendations, short essays, grievance airings, and maybe a couple of posts about sports. There will also be the occasional interview with a notable artist or writer as well as a place that’s not Twitter where you can read his work published elsewhere as it happens. It’s called No Expectations because this is just for fun and there’s no idea what the blog could evolve or devolve into.
If you want this to eventually become something bigger, you can subscribe below. There are free and paid tiers.
“No Expectations,” not entirely coincidentally, is also a great song by The Rolling Stones.
Who the hell are you?
I’ve been a Chicago-based music and culture writer since 2012. I’m currently freelance and looking for full-time gigs but I’ve worked at places like VICE (2017-2021), Netflix (2021-2022), and RedEye Chicago (2015-2017). You can find me on Twitter, on Letterboxd, and my writing in places like Dwell, Chicago Magazine, Fortune, Vinyl, Me Please, Billboard, and elsewhere. Here’s a Linktree with all the obligatory social media links. I’m not the Josh Terry who gives out crypto advice on TikTok. I’m also not the Josh Terry who manages Mayday Parade or the one who reviews movies in Utah. Those are all different dudes.
My main beat has long been the Chicago music community. I love it here and immersing myself in the culture, the artists, the venues, and the people is one of the biggest joys of my life. There are so many supremely talented and hardworking artists here that profiling them and giving them a platform in publications is a privilege I don’t take for granted. While writing about indie rock is my bread and butter, I’ve done extensive work documenting artists in hip-hop, country, electronic, pop, and punk.
I’m also interested in the economics of touring and streaming, the plight of independent venues in light of COVID-19, the future of streaming networks, restaurants, fashion, natural wine, NASCAR, film, left politics, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Chicago Bulls. Chances are this will be a grab-bag of whatever I’m into at the current moment, which changes a lot. After 10 years of writing, I’ve learned to make up beats and pitches wherever I can find them. I don’t know if I would recommend monetizing your interests but I’ve somehow made it work.
Why the hell should I subscribe?
Listen, times are tough and I have no delusion that a Substack about music from the guy who jokes around on Twitter about Malört and Jack Antonoff all the time is the best use of your hard-earned money. There are writers on here who made me want to pursue this career whose newsletters I even can’t afford to pay for. It’s rough out here! There will be multiple posts where a free subscription will be worth your while.
But, I think this blog can become something cool that’s hard to find in music journalism in 2022. Something that’s regionally focused, not pressured by ad dollars, clicks, PR campaigns, or the threat of layoffs, and entirely centered on one person’s tastes. My biggest issue consistently throughout my career working for publications is that sometimes a thing I love isn’t a good fit, either for that particular outlet or for my own timing and sanity. Now that I’m freelancing and finally have a blog, I have time and a place to write about what I care about. Here, I don’t have to run whatever I want to cover by my boss and make sure it fits on an editorial calendar.
I’ve always approached this gig in a way where I try to emulate how I talk to my friends about what I’m excited about. It’s why I wanted to write in the first place: to capture the thrill of showing someone something they’d really like, explaining why it rules on their terms, and being validated when it becomes their new favorite thing. If you’ve ever told me you loved a band because I recommended them, you 100% made my day and kept me doing this job.
If you can swing a paid subscription, you will get exclusive blogs, personalized recommendations, and my eternal gratitude. It’s $5 a month or $50 a year. I hate the idea of digital panhandling as much as the next guy but, at this point in my journalism career, nothing can phase me. You can also hire me for your publication or your client at firstname.lastname@example.org but my rate is much cheaper on Substack.