The Polaris Music prize is by far one of my favourite competitions in Canada.  Not only does it highlight a wide variety of this country’s musicians, I also selfishly use it stock up my IPod with fantastic music, which leads people who hear my music selections, to think that I’m cooler than I actually am. Seems crazy, but trust me, it works.

You know I’ve been writing this blog a long time, when I’m starting to actually recognize names, for a guy that grew up listening to Rick Dees and The Weekly Top 40, this is a big step.

This is the sixth year of the prize, which awards $30,000 (up from $20,000 last year) to the best Canadian album, judged solely on artistic merit, without regard to genre or record sales. Past winners include Patrick Watson, Caribou, Karkwa and Fucked Up. This is a huge prize, especially to some of these artists who may still be unsigned and struggling to maintain a living as a Canadian artist. Which is kinda why I think bands like Arcade Fire and Neil Young should be taken out of the mix, but that’s another blog post for another day.

The Polaris Jury will now vote to reduce the Long List to the 10 title Short List which will be revealed July 6 at the Drake Hotel in Toronto on a live broadcast on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Canada’s channel 152 and CBC Radio 3.

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Austra – Feel It Break
Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
Braids – Native Speaker
Buck 65 – 20 Odd Years
Louise Burns – Mellow Drama
D-Sisive – Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye
The Dears – Degeneration Street
Destroyer – Kaputt
Diamond Rings – Special Affections
Dirty Beaches – Badlands
Luke Doucet and The White Falcon – Steel City Trawler
Eternia & MoSS – At Last
Galaxie – Tigre et Diesel
Jenn Grant – Honeymoon Punch
Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972
Hey Rosetta! – Seeds
Hooded Fang – Album
Imaginary Cities – Temporary Resident
Land Of Talk – Cloak and Cipher (pictured above)
Little Scream – The Golden Record
The Luyas – Too Beautiful To Work
Malajube – La Caverne
Miracle Fortress – Was I The Wave?
One Hundred Dollars – Songs Of Man
Doug Paisley – Constant Companion
PS I Love You – Meet Me At The Muster Station
Daniel Romano – Sleep Beneath the Willow
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
Ron Sexsmith – Long Player Late Bloomer
Shotgun Jimmie – Transistor Sister
Sloan – The Double Cross
Frederick Squire – March 12
Stars – The Five Ghosts
Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin’ On
The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
Women – Public Strain
Neil Young – Le Noise
Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting

Mike Morrison