Yesterday (July 6), the short list of nominees for the coveted Polaris Music Prize, an award that honors the best album of the year made by a Canadian artist, were officially announced. The list of albums includes Destroyer's acclaimed "Kaputt," Arcade Fire's grammy-winning "The Suburbs," and "House of Balloons," the extremely successful mixtape by R&B/indie hybrid The Weeknd.
Rounding out the nominees are: Colin Stetson's "New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges," Braids' "Native Speaker," Ron Sexsmith's "Long Player Late Bloomer," Galaxie's "Tigre et Diesel," Hey Rosetta!'s "Seeds," Timber Timbre's "Creep On Creepin' On," and Austra's "Feel It Break." All ten contenders will compete for a prize of $30,000, which will be rewarded to the victor on September 19 at CTV's Concert Hall studios in Toronto's Masonic Temple.
Billboard asked Polaris Prize founder Steve Jordan about the criticism he receives for failing to showcase Canada's more mainstream acts, such as Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion. "So you don't think Arcade Fire or Feist are some of our top artists?" Jordan smartly countered. "They are, but they haven't sold in the millions. It's a critics' award. It's not based on sales, so if our jury isn't selecting certain records -- i.e. Celine, Bieber -- it's not because they're popular; it's because they don't like the records. But they are in no way directed to not vote for popular artists."