The Polaris Music Prize Long List has been unveiled live at The Drake Hotel in Toronto, Canada!  Well over 200 Canadian albums have been narrowed down to 40. You can find the Long List here.

“The 10 album Short List will be unveiled on July 17. This year’s Polaris Gala is September 17 at The Carlu in Toronto, Ont.

The Polaris Music Prize awards $50,000 to the artist who creates the Canadian Album of the Year, judged solely on artistic merit, without consideration for genre or record sales. Additionally, the nine other nominated acts whose albums make the 2018 Short List will receive $3,000 each courtesy of Slaight Music.

Albums eligible for 2018 Polaris Music Prize consideration must be released between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. An independent jury of music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers from across Canada determine the Long List and Short List. Eleven people from the larger jury pool are then chosen to serve on the Grand Jury. This Grand Jury convene on the night of the Gala to select the Polaris Music Prize winner.

Past winners have included Lido Pimienta (2017), Kaytranada (2016), Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015), Tanya Tagaq (2014), Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013), Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007) and Final Fantasy / Owen Pallett (2006).” (From the Polaris Music Prize website)

Four out of five albums on my ballot made it to the long list. Esmerine didn’t make it but that doesn’t surprise me much. There are a few more people aware of them and liking what they heard so that’s good. I am very excited that The Barr Brothers are on the list as they were at the top of my ballot! The album has layers of vocals with wonderful harmonies and interesting instrumentation that make repeated listens a delight. Next on the ballot was Jeremy Dutcher’s album which was a very interesting project and you can read more about it at Exclaim. I wanted to vote for a Saskatchewan artist in this round and that went to Kacy and Clayton. This young second cousin duo have made a fantastic album with the help of Jeff Tweedy. You can read more about that at Exclaim as well.  Last on my ballot I wanted to vote for a strong female lead or solo artist and that went to U.S. Girls. It’s a socio-political album that you can dance to. Read more about it at NOW.

One of my favourite parts of Polaris is discovering new to me artists. Jeremy Dutcher was one of those. Some others were Melissa Laveaux, Hubert Lenoir, LOUD, Afrotronix and Snotty Nose Rez Kids. I will be listening to the 40 albums repeatedly for the next month to help me cast my 5 votes on my ballot for the short list. It won’t be easy decisions but I feel quite certain The Barr Brothers and probably Jeremy Dutcher as well, will remain on my ballot. I am not sure who will fill the remaining spots at this point. Only listening will tell.

We have two playlists to listen to again this week. One is OurBasement’s Long List and the other is the Polaris Music Prize Long List. There are some artists in common but I chose different tracks to represent them. I didn’t get as many replies as I had hoped for OurBasement’s list so the last 20 or so are from DarBar’s long list to get it to 40.

I couldn’t find a playable Booji Boys, who are on the Polaris Music Prize Long List, on Spotify so you can go to bandcamp to check them out.



What do you think? Which playlist do you like better? What albums didn’t make it to the long list that you think should have?