Author: Charlie Bertsch
Charlie Bertsch lives in Tucson, Arizona. A founding editor and regular contributor to one of the world's first online magazines, Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life, his work has appeared in numerous publications since including The Oxford American, Punk Planet, Phoenix New Times, Cleveland Scene, Tucson Sentinel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

MAGAM’s new album, Another, is a tour-de-force of eccentricity. The companion to the band’s 2017 debut, One, conceptually linked by a play written by a band member who goes by the mysterious name of “moody alien”, it avoids conventionality with a steely rigour. (More…)

In the weeks leading up to the premiere of Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season, it seemed everybody was talking about the massively popular HBO series. Or, at least, that’s how it seemed to people like me who are deeply invested in the fictional invented by George R.R. Martin. For people who don’t follow the show, however, the media frenzy surrounding it was an irritation at best. (More…)

When a small group of University of Arizona students protested a visit by the US Border Patrol on March 19th, they used a confrontational approach developed by activists in the 1960s. Seeing that the officers were speaking to students in a classroom while dressed in uniform and carrying firearms, they began to loudly declaim their outrage, calling them the “Murder Patrol”, (More…)

The Weight, the latest album by Dutch duo Weval, is a surprising record. Although released on Kompakt, a label famous for interesting elaborations on the microhouse and minimal techno dance genres, it seems only intermittently interested in maintaining a DJ-friendly attitude. While “Heaven, Listen” builds to a readily danceable rhythm, slower tracks like “False State of Mind” feel more like meta-dance.[MORE] They invoke different subgenres of electronic dance music, without fully committing to any of them. (More…)

When I first saw the same image popping up in my social media feeds yesterday, I wasn’t sure what to think. On the small screen of my phone, it was too “busy” to comprehend at a glance. The background was dark. And, though I could clearly see the president in the right foreground, I couldn’t tell who was represented in the group to his left. So I paused to zoom in. (More…)

Almost every night, I visit my father in the skilled nursing facility where he has been confined since last spring. And almost every night, he has a grievance to share. But I never saw this one coming: “They were showing Easy Rider today as the in-house movie. No matter how high I turned up the volume, though, I just couldn’t make it loud enough.” (More…)

When I saw that my favourite place in Tucson, The Loft Cinema, would be celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, with the band’s drummer Steve Shelley, its archivist Aaron Mullan, and local legend Howe Gelb — part of a national theater tour — I knew I had to be there. I wasn’t sure what would be happening but figured it didn’t matter. (More…)

When I first heard Park Hye Jin’s I Don’t Care, I was intrigued. I’d been listening distractedly on my new Bluetooth headphones as I performed household chores. I like sampling new music that way. Most tracks don’t interest me enough to pull my phone from my pocket. But this one made me think. (More…)

Even more than previous years in what has been a consistently stressful decade for me, 2018 was defined by the divide between what I absolutely had to do and what I felt I didn’t have time for. As a result – and I think this applies to a great many people, even ones who had relatively good years – I ended up prioritizing experiences over the pursuit of novelty. (More…)

You’re sitting in a suburban Starbucks, sipping a flat white, as you look at photos of refugees from Honduras fleeing from the teargas American forces fired over the Mexican border. A nearby conversation starts to interest you. Someone is declaring that we need to “stop defaming immigrants, stop insulting them and blaming them for our mistakes”. Is he talking about the same news story you’ve been following? (More…)

Natural disasters, mass shootings, constant political turmoil, and the sense that long-standing alliances might be irreparably damaged: 1968 was the year when everything seemed to be falling apart. And the eponymous double album The Beatles released near its end was the perfect mirror, a testament to the centrifugal forces that could break even the strongest bonds of fellowship. How fitting that it should be reissued now, (More…)

You and your sometime girlfriend are driving home to the city from a weekend at the estate of your wealthy new friend. She falls asleep between you in the back seat, still hungover from the previous night. You stop for a drink along the way while she rests. Your outdoor table is surrounded by locals enjoying the beautiful weather. The pastoral scene makes a pleasing backdrop for your conversation. (More…)