Polaris 2010 winners Karkwa. Photo by David Topping/Torontoist.
It’s a busy week for music in the city: Luminato has had some great performances and of course NXNE is tearing up the town with approximately one million bands and venues and things to do—and today, the first phase of this year’s Polaris Music Prize got underway with the announcement of the long list from atop the sunny Drake Hotel Sky Yard.
The 40 albums voted into the first stage of consideration for the (newly larger sum!) of $30,000 contained some of the bigger names from the eligibility period of June 1, 2010 to May 31, 2011: albums from Arcade Fire, Neil Young, Ron Sexsmith, Sloan, and Stars all made it, as did newcomers/splash-makers Diamond Rings, Hooded Fang, PS I Love You, and Little Scream. A couple of repeat names, of course, made the cut again (Malajube, Miracle Fortress), but as some jurors noted on Twitter, a two-time short-lister, Chad VanGaalen, didn’t even make the first cut this year with his excellent new album (and excellently named new album) Diaper Island.
Geographically, Toronto and eastward (go Montreal!) are most represented, while genre-wise, the standard guitar-based stuff is covered pretty well (though nothing heavier than the psych-prog of Vancouver’s Black Mountain or the thick distortion on top of Kingston’s PS I Love You’s pop jams seem to be much liked). Just a few hip-hop acts (congrats to Torontoist favourite D-Sisive!) and a sprinkling of electronic round it all out, and now, we wait to see which of them carry on to be one of the 10 on the shortlist, which will announced on July 6.
The complete long list of nominees is now online.