Les Jupes are a new band from the centre of Canada versed in expansive musical landscapes, sharp lyrics and an observer’s eye for the world. They are three Anglos with a French name making big, broad and determined music. And they are at the centre of a prairie renaissance growing around Head In The Sand Records.
Their debut album Modern Myths is built on Michael Petkau Falk’s baritone charging through waves of psychedelia and driving rhythms. Pounding, introspective, at times fierce, at times playful. It is purposefully dyslexic – an echo of the characters entombed and a mirror of the writer. Having moved to Montreal and quitting music in 2005, this album culminates the creative turnaround of “the patron saint of the Winnipeg music scene” (Jaxon Haldane) – a process which also brought us the Record Of The Week Club in 2009.
Modern Myths was recorded over a year and a half when Montreal producer/engineer Marcus Paquin (frontman of Last Gang’s Silver Starling) found time from working on Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. Marcus and Mike have that rare magic found in friends who share similar musical visions.
The process of recording Modern Myths also brought turnover – one version of Les Jupes slowly dissipated and another has come to take its place. David Schellenberg (The Playing Cards) and Kelly Beaton (All Of Your Friends) have brought new passion and skill to this song cycle. What began as a band quickly formed around a one-off gig has grown into a powerful live act excited to continue connecting with audiences across Canada and around the world.
And what of the songs? There is one for Nikita Khruschev, Stalin’s Ukranian heir and cold-war architect. There is one for someone wrestling with depression and an eating disorder. There is one for Chicago. There is (ironically enough) one for people who take things too seriously. There is Awake, My Ghost! written the day before a kind man and passionate music-lover took his own life. And there is One Solemn Oath, the album’s thematic centre. Petkau Falk has been the quiet backbone behind a musical resurgence coming from Winnipeg. He produced the Record Of The Week Club which captured the imagination of music fans worldwide for its spontaneous and collaborative creativity. He played guitar, keys and trumpet in the WCMA-winning Liptonians and co-produced their forthcoming sophomore album. He runs Head In The Sand Records, home to Royal Canoe and the rest of this family. And he is the Artistic Director of Winnipeg’s beloved West End Cultural Centre.
Les Jupes – “Myth #3 (The Mountain)” (mp3)