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Torontonians Claim Four-and-a-Half Spots on Polaris Short List

Fucked Up, Drake, Cold Specks, Feist, and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan all make the cut.

Fucked Up is among the local acts on this year's Polaris short list. Photo by Corbin Smith/Torontoist

Musicians, journalists, and other various “industry types” crowded into a sticky-hot Drake Hotel Lounge this afternoon to hear the announcement of this year’s Polaris Prize short list (while eating complimentary pulled-pork sliders).

Now in its sixth year, the Polaris Prize is awarded to the best Canadian album as selected by a jury of music journalists “without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history.” The ten albums on the short list were selected from a field of 40 long-list albums.

Torontonian artists did fairly well this year, with four-and-a-half of the 10 nominations going to locals. Toronto albums to get nominated: hip-hop megastar Drake’s Take Care; Broken Social Scenester Feist’s Metals; David Comes to Life, by arty punks Fucked Up; and I Predict a Graceful Expulsion by spooky soulster Cold Specks. (The half belonged to experimental rockers Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, who were nominated for their album YT//ST, have members based in both Toronto and Montreal.)

They were joined by Montrealers Grimes and Handsome Furs (Visions and Sound Kaptial, respectively), Vancouver’s Japandroids (Celebration Rock), Edmonton’s Cadence Weapon (Hope in Dirt City) and Ottawa’s Kathleen Edwards (Voyageur).

Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham, whose band won the award in 2009 for their album, The Chemistry of Common Life, said he was surprised to be nominated again. He also said that while all the albums on the list deserved to be there, he was still surprised by some of the released that didn’t make the cut.

“This year, I was looking at the long list, and it’s not to say that the long list isn’t usually great, but I could have easily picked 10 records,” he said. “I really didn’t know who was on the short list this year, and there are a couple of albums that I’m shocked didn’t make it… Coure de Pirate I thought was going to make it, Joel Plaskett I thought would make it. I thought The Weeknd would make it again… We’re the only repeat, so we’re the only band that’s a sure thing not to win.”

That said, he was impressed by the breadth of this year’s selections.

“There are two hip-hop artists up there, a metal artist, some folk artists, a couple dance-y type artists and a band that has a swear word for a name,” he said. “It’s a good list.”

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