It is Polaris Music Prize season and I am anxiously waiting to hear who makes it on to the Long List. The jurors votes are in and the official long list will be announced on June 15. This year’s Long List will be presented by Canada Council for the Arts and will feature an array of past Polaris nominees revealing this year’s albums.

Past Polaris nominees currently confirmed to participate as presenters for this 15th edition of the prize include a l l i e, Art Bergmann, Jean-Michel Blais, Bonjay, Braids, Cadence Weapon, Charlotte Cornfield, Le Couleur, Dilly Dally, Elephant Stone, Elisapie, Eternia, Faith Healer, Great Lake Swimmers, Hannah Georgas, Haviah Mighty, Zaki Ibrahim, iskwē, B.A. Johnston, KEN mode, Kimmortal, LAL, Lisa Leblanc, Greg MacPherson, Milk & Bone, Safia Nolin, Partner, Klô Pelgag, PUP, Radio Radio, Shad, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, White Lung, Wintersleep, Hawskley Workman and YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN.

Monday’s blog post on OurBasement will be about the Long List reveal and there will be links to the live online event. I am so excited to find out which albums make it on to that Long List and I hope you join us!

While we wait we can listen to some tracks off of albums that I am hoping to see land on the list. This is in no way a prediction but only my personal long list wish list. The tracks on my playlist represent the 40 albums that I wish end up on the official list. There are some albums on my list that it will be impossible for them to make it on, and some sure to be, and many that have a chance.

The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction. A select panel of music critics judge and award the Prize without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity. All genres of music are considered for the Polaris Music Prize and no entry fee is required. Artists or their representatives do not submit to Polaris. A Long List of 40 nominated Albums of the Year will be selected by an independent jury made up of music journalists, broadcasters and music filterers from across Canada. This same jury will vote for a Short List of 10 titles that will be announced to the media in July. A second panel of 11 members of that jury will convene at the Polaris Music Prize Gala to select the winner of the Polaris Music Prize.

Polaris Music Prize nominees and winners will be selected solely on artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or professional affiliation. An album is defined as one release of at least 20 minutes of music, or at least 5 songs. To qualify, albums must have been released in full between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020. Albums released between May 1, and May 31, 2019 that did not make the 2019 Long List will also be considered. (from Polaris Music Prize website.)

DarBar’s Polaris Long List 2020 (Not in an exact order.)

Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline
Lightning Dust – Spectre
Mappe Of – The Isle of Ailynn
nêhiyawak – nippy
Badge Époque Ensemble – Badge Époque Ensemble
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light
Jon McKiel – Bobby Joe Hope
Corridor – Junior
Whoop-Szo – Warrior Down
Close Talker – How Do We Stay Here?
Louis-Jean Cormier – Quand la nuit tombe
Owen Pallett – Island
Caribou – Suddenly
Rich Aucoin – Release
Super Duty Tough Work – Studies in Grey
JOYFULTALK – A Separation Of Being
Flore Laurentienne – Volume 1
Fly Pan Am – C’est ça
Wares – Survival
Walrus – Cool to Who
Mauno – Really Well
Half Moon Run – A Blemish In The Great Light
Bruce Peninsula – No Earthly Sound
The Jerry Cans – Echoes
Patrick Watson – Wave
Jesse MacCormack – Now
Geoffroy – 1952
Destroyer – Have We Met
Little Scream – Speed Queen
Ada Lea – what we say in private
Riit – ataataga
Begonia – Fear
Witch Prophet – DNA Activation
Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia
Natural Sympathies – Porous
Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
Doomsquad – Let Yourself Be Seen
Holy Fuck – Deleter
Jacques Greene – Dawn Chorus

I am really pulling for some of our prairie artists to make it through. Last year was a noticeable lack of representation from the prairies even though there were plenty of worthy albums. This year we have Andy Shauf, nêhiyawak, Super Duty Tough Work, Slow Leaves, Wares, William Prince, Close Talker, and more representing. We are bound to have some prairie artists on the Long List this year! Lightning Dust, Mappe Of, Badge Époque Ensemble, and U.S Girls are some of my other top picks. So many great albums from so many great artists! I can’t wait! Who are you cheering for?