I am a Chicago based author, editor, and critic.
I began working as a music critic and writer for local publications in Minneapolis, MN in 1990, when I was 15. Mostly for my own fanzine Hit it or Quit it. I started writing for SPIN when I was 19, but that endeavor was short-lived on account of a scathing review of the Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon--a rare example of an early assessment that I still stand by. I wrote for Grand Royal and a bunch of other magazines and weeklies that no longer exist, but mostly fanzines, including a good few years as a columnist at Punk Planet, where I ministered to the punx on the healing value of Mary J. Blige albums.
In lieu of college, I started a publicity company, doing press for independent record labels and bands. At The Drive In, Gossip, The Promise Ring, Pedro the Lion, Alkaline Trio, Kid606, Dismemberment Plan, Jawbreaker, Jawbox--and dozens more. I toured in a few bands, helped make some records, but, as the saying goes, once you've worked in the kitchen of a restaurant, you never want to eat there again. And so that was that.
In the spring of 2004 I started writing for The Chicago Reader, penning my first cover story after spending nearly a month on Warped Tour, staring into the soul of teen America. Even though I had been writing for a decade, this was the story where it became a career. I spent the next few years learning how to write on account of the exacting standards of my Reader editors and helping pick the music for This American Life. I also wrote for SPIN, GQ, Rolling Stone and Buzzfeed. I authored a book for teenage girls. I did my first cover story -- Kendrick Lamar. I did a syndicated advice column for bands for the Village Voice chain and had a long running column about local music in the Chicago Tribune. I did a podcast for WBEZ.
In 2012, I became the music editor for Rookie; working at a website that is by and for teenage girls was my actual dream come true. From 2014 to 2015 I was Editor in Chief of the Pitchfork Review, and Sr. Editor at Pitchfork. In 2015 a book anthologizing my criticism, The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic, was published internationally and it did really well. In late 2015, I went to help reboot MTV News as Music Editor, eventually becoming Executive Editor in 2017, and serving as Executive Producer on the Cover Story documentary series. In 2017 I became an editor for the American Music Series for University of Texas Press. In 2018 I returned to freelancing, and am currently working on a book about women's music history. My forthcoming music-memoir, Night Moves, is due out September 17th, 2018 from University of Texas Press.
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