Today is the day of the big reveal of the Polaris Music Prize Long List for 2020. The #Polaris2020 Long List reveal takes place at noon ET / 9 am PT via Polaris YouTube and Facebook. An all-star cast of 40 past nominees will unveil this year’s albums.

Presenters 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.

Polaris Facebook Page and YouTube Channel

Some of my top picks:

Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline
Andy is a fantastic Saskatchewan story teller. The songs on this album are melodically smart and well brought together, and yet, so simple in structure and lyrics. Andy Shauf really is a genius when it comes to writing folk and pop music, that he reinvents his own way, with oboes, clarinets and a keyboard tone that is instantly recognizable.

Lightning Dust – Spectre

Lead singer-songwriter Amber Webber is stepping into the spotlight in her own way. Webber and Lightning Dust bandmate Josh Wells both walked away from their other band, Black Mountain, in 2017. Webber returned to school and considered a different kind of life, but it didn’t stick. Instead, “it made me realize that art and music are still my light,” Webber said via press release. “Spectre is my journey. It’s for all the women warriors that have been battling throughout life looking for a place to express themselves that feels inclusive and inspiring. It’s about finding yourself when no one is paying attention and inventing a new way of creating that feels honest and sincere. I truly feel that women, especially as we age, are underrepresented. That was truly the driving force to creating this album.” The result is Webber at her most raw, wry and wise, her voice captivating and flawless . The guitars are mournful and urgent, electric riffs and fuzz agitating against spare acoustic strings. Synths bridge decades of influence in single songs, filling in the space between genres to craft a complicated rock album that’s breathtakingly expansive.

Mappe Of – Isle of Ailynn
Isle of Ailynn is a beautiful concept album that transported me to a different time and place. Who doesn’t need that these days? Mappe Of have created a world and an adventure in one 40-minute bundle. This is a wonderful and deep record that has many layers and requires more than one listen to fully grasp in its entirety. Ailynn is not just a concept or a fantasy world – there are plenty of real world connections if we only look a little closer.

nêhiyawak – nipiy
A full shoegaze throwback with contemporary Indigenous content, literary genius and swelling sonic melodies. The lyrics are meaningful in the context of current Canadian society, and their compositions really embody the records title “nipiy (ᓂᐱᐩ)” or in English “water.” At times it feels like you are floating down a peaceful waterway.

Badge Époque Ensemble – ST
Max Turnbull has returned after retiring his Slim Twig moniker with a bold LP of psychedelic instrumental funk. He has players joining him from The Cosmic Range and U.S. Girls’ live band. He made a record that feels like an escape route for listeners to get righteously lost in. It’s fantastical and a rare kind of sensory overload where what you hear truly alters the way you feel.

Go to the Playlist Friday’s post to find out what other albums are on my Long List Wish List. What album are you hoping is on the Long List?