The short list for the Polaris Music Prize has just been announced. It is a prize of $20 000 based solely on artistic merit given out once a year to a Canadian artist based on an album released in the past year. The judges are 178 music journalists and industry insiders who debate with each other for weeks on end before compiling a long list of 40 albums. Then the debates rage on as they go to select the short list of 10.
As far as the albums selected, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite albums (Oh My Darling by Basia Bulat) up there. I don't think its will win just because of the Polaris track record of picking artists who are more experimental. Same goes for The Weakerthans Reunion Tour. I love the album but I'm not sure it will win. Black Mountain, although I have not heard much of the album, will probably be close to winning. Caribou's Andorra may have a shot but I'm not a huge fan of that album. Maybe I have to listen to it more. I don't know what Shad is doing up there. Its more comedy hip-hop than serious artistic indie music. Ottawan/Hamiltonian Kathleen Edwards is another favourite of mine who will probably not win. But I simply must buy that album. Stars have a good chance because everybody knows that album and it really is fantastic. They are the popular choice which may prevent them from winning. Two Hours Traffic and Plants & Animals are in a similar situation both musically and with a chance to win this. I like Plants & Animals better and they probably have the edge here. The last band I won't pronounce because there may be children present. I think the name of their band is totally unnecessary. since they make such fantastic music that they don't need the shock value of putting the f-word in their band name. It's ridiculous really. But I can see them winning it anyway. In short almost any of these bands could win it.
So my predictions for winning are the aforementioned band, Black Mountain or maybe Stars.
Basia Bulat (who I saw again on Canada Day), Kathleen Edwards, Stars or The Weakerthans are who I'd like to see win. Only time will tell I suppose.
There are several albums from the long list that I would have liked to see win. My Top 10 would have included The Acorn, Christine Fellows, Hayden, Islands, Corb Lund, Justin Rutledge (of course) and Wintersleep. To bad I don't have any input.