Polaris Prize 2014: Drake, Arcade Fire, Timber Timbre Make Short List (Updated)

Guy Aroch
Arcade Fire

There are many repeat contenders and two past winners on 2014 Polaris Music Prize short list this year, including Drake, Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett, Shad, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Basia Bulat and Timber Timbre announced today in Toronto at The Carlu, home for the Gala Sept. 22 — and for the next five years. (The full short list can be found at the bottom of this article.)

Usually most of the acts show up to perform and be feted.

The annual award of $30,000 goes to the Best Canadian Album, a distinction that is voted on behind closed doors during the Gala ceremony by an 11-member grand jury.

Pallett won in 2006 and Arcade Fire in 2011. Jessy Lanza, Mac Demarco and Tanya Tagaq have never made the short list before.

“The long list of 41 and our short list are carefully selected by over 190 music journalists, broadcasters, critics from coast to coast, and they do this on a volunteer basis,” said Polaris Music Prize president and founder Steve Jordan at the announcement.

“Serving on the jury takes time, effort, thought and most importantly passion for music. With increasing layoffs and media closures, journalists really should be spending their time looking for or keeping their jobs, but manage to find the time to serve the Polaris cause by exposing finer music to Canada and the world regardless of popularity, genre or affiliation.”

Jordan encouraged music fans to seek out the jurors by name on the Polaris web site and check out their work. “Music journalism has value,” he said.

There to announce the short list was "Tropic Thunder" and "This Is The End" actor  — and Zeppelin fan in "Almost Famous" — Canadian Jay Baruchel, who will host the Gala event.

“He and I first connected on Twitter and later at the Canadian Screen Awards a few months ago, where he revealed to me his fandom of last year’s winner and also his opinion on their response to winning,” said Jordan.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor won for its album "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!," but trashed the concept and timing of Polaris. They still accepted the $30,000 prize, saying they would “use the money to try to set up a program so that prisoners in Quebec have musical instruments if they need them.”

“[Jay] was animated and passionate and hilarious — and reminded me of most of our jury members. Then and there, without ever knowing if he’s hosted or without having seen him host anything, I decided we would ask him to host our thing. His response was 'Are you kidding? That would be amazing.’”

Aux TV is Polaris Music Prize’s broadcast partner for the next five years and will stream the Gala Sept. 22, in addition to running other Polaris programming.  SiriusXM is the long-time radio broadcaster.

Slaight Music is again offering $2000 to each of the runners up. Radio Starmaker Fund will help fly in any performers not based in Toronto. Other sponsors are FACTOR, the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and from Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters; OMDC through the Ontario Music Fund; plus Long & McQuade, a national musical instrument retailer which will offer a contest to attend the Gala; and RACS which will sponsor the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Critics) salons, one of which will be Sept. 9 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

This year's shortlisted nominees include:

Arcade Fire, "Reflektor"
Jessy Lanza, "Pulled My Hair Back"
Mac DeMarco, "Salad Days"
Drake, "Nothing Was the Same"
Shad, "Flying Colours"
Owen Pallett, "In Conflict"
Timber Timbre, "Hot Dreams"
Tanya Tagag, "Animism"
Basia Bulat, "Tall Tall Shadow"
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, "UZU"


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