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Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Ten More Songs

2010 Polaris Music Prize short list announced

Photo By Amanda SchenkAmanda SchenkTwo and a half weeks after announcing what a panel of unadventurous, sexist, regionally biased and indie-rockist media types had collectively decided were the 40 best Canadian albums of the past year, the Polaris Music Prize yesterday whittled said list down to a short list of ten, thus helping narrow the pool of records that everyone will complain are unworthy of recognition for the next two and a half months until a final overrated and predictably mainstream record is selected by a jury of people who are obviously pursuing their own agendas and wouldn’t know the best album in the country from a hole in the ground.

Okay, that was a bit over the top cynical but probably isn’t too far off from how some regard the prize awarded to what is deemed the Canadian album “of the highest artistic integrity”, now entering its fifth year and having gone in that time from a curious Juno upstart to an internationally recognized honour. And yeah, if so inclined you can pick holes in the prize’s methodology, jury and validity but the fact is, it’s done a pretty great job of supporting and spotlighting great Canadian artists and records over the past half decade and with this year’s list of finalists, continues to do so. Some would point to the presence of five past nominees – including two winners – on the list as proof that things are too narrow or predictable, but that’s what happens when you’ve got artists who’re at the top of their game turning out great records, and should really be cause for celebration rather than disdain.

I’ve talked at some length about many of the nominees, but haven’t really said much about Darker Circles, the latest from Canadian music veterans and first-time nominees The Sadies, and that’s probably because I’ve been following the band for so long that I pretty much take them and their awesomeness for granted now. It’s a given that they’ll tour incessantly and turn in incendiary shows every night, back up countless legendary artists on stage and on record and do it all while dressed impeccably and making it look easy. And lost in all of that is the fact that each album they’ve put out in recent years has been much more than just an excuse to tour – the brothers Good have also become excellent songwriters, making their unique psych-country-punk-surf-rock hybrid not only a showcase for their astounding musicianship, but their storytelling abilities. That Darker Circles made the short list only surprised me in that it felt like a logical progression in their growth and not a quantum leap ahead that demanded your notice, but I won’t complain either way.

That said, I still believe that Shad absolutely should and very well could win. Though if we get a repeat winner for the first time this year… I’m okay with that too.

The Polaris Prize short list for this year is as follows; a winner will be selected the evening of September 20.

The Besnard Lakes / The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”

Broken Social Scene / Forgiveness Rock Record
MP3: Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”

Caribou / Swim
MP3: Caribou – “Odessa”

Karkwa / Les Chemins De Verre
Video: Karkwa – “Moi-Lèger” (live)

Dan Mangan / Nice, Nice, Very Nice
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Robots”

Owen Pallett / Heartland
Video: Owen Pallett – “Lewis Takes His Shirt Off”

Radio Radio / Belmundo Regal
Video: Radio Radio – “Dekshoo”

The Sadies / Darker Circles
Video: The Sadies – “Postcards”

Shad / TSOL
MP3: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”

Tegan & Sara / Sainthood
Video: Tegan & Sara – “Alligator”

Chart gets inaugural prize winner Owen Pallett’s thoughts on being nominated a second time, as well as second-time nom Shad. They also talk to Dan Mangan and The Sadies about being first time short-listers.

Ca Va Cool and The Korea Times talk to Caribou’s Dan Snaith.

They Shoot Music has posted a video session with The Hidden Cameras, whose contribution to the Buffet Libre Peace compilation – a fundraiser for Amnesty International – is now available to download. They play two nights at the Lower Ossington Theatre on August 5 and 6 as part of Summerworks.

MP3: The Hidden Cameras – “The Mild Mannered Army”

Also doing the video session thing are The Acorn; they’ve got performances up at The Fly and Southern Souls.

Toronto’s Zeus have released a new ninja-powered video.

Video: Zeus – “How Does It Feel”

Blurt profiles Wolf Parade.

ABC News examines the musical and marketing stratagems of Arcade Fire, whose new record The Suburbs arrives August 3. They play the Toronto Islands on August 14.

Spinner has the album art for and tour dates in support of Land Of Talk’s new record Cloak & Cipher, out August 24. They’ll be at Lee’s Palace on September 16 and presale packages consisting of the new album on CD and concert tickets are available. There’s also a live session with the band from last Fall available to stream or download at CBC Radio 3 (talking stops and music starts at around 1:50).

Magnet has an interview with Evan Cranley of Stars as they take over their website for the week. They also play Massey Hall on October 23.

Spinner solicits opinions from various Canadian musicians on the G20 clusterfuck that went down in Toronto a couple weekends ago.

By : Frank Yang at 8:36 am
Category: General

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RSS Feed for this post6 Responses.
  1. Aimz says:

    Brilliant opening paragraph. Ha ha ha!

  2. John M says:

    I’m so excited that the Sadies got the nod. The list is full of mainly safe and predictable choices, but I guess it should be expected. I was actually shocked to see the Sadies on there, they are usually respected by most musicians and some media, I didn’t think this style of award would garner enough support from people who love the Sadies.

    I really hope they win…they probably won’t…but I will be pulling for them bigtime. They work harder, play better and now have an album that is on the same level as their mind boggling live shows.

  3. Steve says:

    Hey Frank,
    Do you know where I will be able to find set times for tomorrow’s Lips show?

  4. Frank Yang says:

    I should get set times sometime today; I’ll post them when I do but they should also be up on http://www.settimes.ca/ sometime before tomorrow night. I think Fang Island goes on at 6:45.

  5. Steve says:

    Perfect. Thanks for that link. Very handy. I’ll watch for your post as well to confirm they are accurate.

  6. juepucta says:

    The Sadies should get it. They deserve the recognition because, while they get kudos for being journeymen musicians and a great backing band and solid (that discography is killer), they don’t get props for their creativity much.

    Mind you the shortlist (and longlist) are solid this year. I think i love 95% of the bands.

    -G.