Some of the Toronto (and Toronto-area) albums on this year’s Polaris long list.
The long list of forty contenders for this year’s Polaris Prize was announced on the Drake Hotel’s sunny Sky Yard Thursday afternoon, and Torontoist was there for posterity (and to drop hors d’oeuvres down the front of our shirt). The announcements were a quick affair, as many of the attendees were no doubt in a rush to get back to NXNE conferences and BBQs.
CBC Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence brought up members of last year’s shortlisted Elliott Brood to read the first twenty nominees, then turned the mic over to his recent bride (and 2009 nominee) Jill Barber (whose War Child benefit we wrote about in Monday’s Urban Planner). Barber listed off nominees twenty-one through thirty, throwing her support behind Holy Fuck when asked for a favourite. Damien Abraham, lead singer for last year’s winners Fucked Up, rounded out the final ten, before planting a sloppy kiss on Barber’s husband and proclaiming to the crowd “I could have had him,” leaving Lawrence briefly at a loss for words.
The full list, also available on the Polaris website, grouped here by home city:
Bahamas – Pink Strat
Blue Rodeo – The Things We Left Behind
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
By Divine Right – Mutant Message
Jason Collett – Rat A Tat Tat
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Holy Fuck – Latin
Owen Pallett – Heartland
Justin Rutledge – The Early Widows
The Sadies – Darker Circles
Elizabeth Shepherd – Heavy Falls The Night
South Rakkas Crew – The Stimulus Package
The Wooden Sky – If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone
Zeus – Say Us
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
Fred Fortin – Plastrer La Lune
Karkwa – Les Chemins De Verre
Misteur Valaire – Golden Bombay
Plants And Animals – La La Land
Radio Radio – Belmundo Regal
The Slew – 100%
Young Galaxy – Invisible Republic
Apollo Ghosts – Mount Benson
Brasstronaut – Mt. Chimaera
Hannah Georgas – This Is Good
Dan Mangan – Nice, Nice, Very Nice
The New Pornographers – Together
Tegan And Sara – Sainthood
You Say Party! We Say Die! – XXXX
Yukon Blonde – Yukon Blonde
Basia Bulat – Heart Of My Own
Shad – TSOL
Meaghan Smith – The Cricket’s Orchestra
Ghostkeeper – Ghostkeeper
Caribou – Swim
Amelia Curran – Hunter Hunter
LeE HARVeY OsMOND – A Quiet Evil
Hawksley Workman – Meat
Frog Eyes – Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph
Greg MacPherson – Mr. Invitation
Music blogs are of course debating the list’s merits and omissions (No love for The Balconies?). Here at Torontoist, though, we’re taking the opportunity to revisit the coverage we’ve given the new nominees—many of them from Toronto—over the past year.
Our Sound Advice album reviews have featured a full quarter of the Polaris long list—in order of most recent, we’ve big-upped nominees Shad, The Sadies, Broken Social Scene, Crystal Castles, Caribou, Zeus, Basia Bulat, Owen Palett, By Divine Right, and The Wooden Sky. That’s eight of the thirteen Toronto-based nominees, and ten of the sixteen Southern Ontario acts. We’ve also shown love in our Sound Tracks music video features to Shad, Owen Pallett, Zeus, and Hawksley Workman.
We’d be remiss in not mentioning those acts that are playing Toronto soon; in fact, we already have for some, in our NXNE guide. But here they are again: By Divine Right are at Lee’s Palace Friday at 11 p.m.; Broken Social Scene and Zeus are on the bill for the Toronto Island Festival Saturday; and Vancouver’s Hannah Georgas (who we’re awfully glad made the cut) plays Lee’s later that night, at 10 p.m. Next week, Montreal’s Plants and Animals are at the Opera House (Sticky Magazine is running a contest to give away tickets).
There are two past Polaris winners back again: Torontoist favourites Caribou (2008) and Owen Pallett (2006, as Final Fantasy). In addition to those two, there are nine more repeat nominees: from 2008, Basia Bulat, Holy Fuck, Justin Rutledge, The New Pornographers, Plants and Animals, The Sadies, and Shad; from 2007, Besnard Lakes; and from 2006, Broken Social Scene and The New Pornographers (again).
The short list will cull the forty nominees down to ten—to be announced July 6—and we’ll be ready and waiting to go into more detail about them.