Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Ten More Songs
2010 Polaris Music Prize short list announced
Amanda 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.
The Polaris Prize short list for this year is as follows; a winner will be selected the evening of September 20.
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.
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.
Toronto’s Zeus have released a new ninja-powered video.
Video: Zeus – “How Does It Feel”
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).
Spinner solicits opinions from various Canadian musicians on the G20 clusterfuck that went down in Toronto a couple weekends ago.