The New LoFi

Ten Years

Campaign Launch Party releases first EP Garbage Beach

Nothing lasts forever. Truthfully, nothing these days lasts even a few seconds. When art is as ubiquitous as the garbage that surrounds us, it’s no wonder we can’t help but embrace trash as an integral feature of our collective aesthetic. “We inherited garbage qualities,” says Curtis Bowman, the artist behind Campaign Launch Party who writes, produces, and records all his own material. “A lot of the album is a very personal meditation on the garbage within ourselves.” 

The dovetailing themes of self-criticism and inevitable climate doom are becoming increasingly prevalent for songwriters and serves as the framework for Campaign Launch Party’s debut EP, Garbage Beach. Thematically, environmentalism under the folk umbrella always recycles work from legends Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell, but Bowman’s strengths as a song-writer are in his blithe delivery, the bittersweet apathy of an incredibly connected generation increasingly disconnected with material reality.

Opening with a seven minute ballad of the same name, Garbage Beach wastes no time getting to the heart of Bowman’s ethos. “There’s a lot of suffering that the western world has caused, so I intend to be as thoughtful and focused as I can.” Campaign Launch Party’s tongue in cheek lyrics are coupled with sunbleached guitars, while sparse keys and organs add color throughout. The result is sonically uncluttered and pristine, an aesthetic aptly mirrored in Garbage Beach’s accompanying artwork shot at the East Calgary Landfill. “The discourse is moving away from love and heartbreak and into more globalized topics,” says Bowman.  “Art has always brought people together and I think indie music is showing its raw power to inspire the people to rally around issues.”

Photos by Noah Leach

Garbage Beach plays a lot like a Joni Mitchell song in reverse, paving over the heaping pile of trash and putting up a faux-paradise in its place (the former East Calgary dump was buried and redeveloped into 415 hectares of parkland). There exists a grand irony in a world where artwork is just as disposable as the constant influx of waste all around us, and perhaps these systems are more connected than we think. “Garbage to me is just as easily bad qualities, dishonesty, racism, hate,” Bowman argues “I think the focus is shifting beyond ‘how do we get rid of garbage and excess waste’ to how do we change the values of our system that created this stuff”

Garbage Beach is a synchronous triumph of creative vision and execution, with Bowman resting comfortably in his finest loafers atop our societal dumpster fire. There is always poetry to be found in self-destruction, even on a global scale. But don’t be mislead, Bowman is pretty clear about blind optimism in today’s world.

“I think it might be time to put our rose-tinted glasses in the landfill.” says Bowman.