Arcade Fire, Gord Downie & Daniel Caesar Make Polaris Music Prize Long List

Courtesy of Nasty Little Man
Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire, Daniel Caesar, the late Gord Downie, Sloan, Iskwé and Alvvays are among the 40 artists whose albums have landed on the 2018 Polaris Music Prize long list, up for Canada's album of the year, as determined by a jury of selected music media.

The announcement was made today from Toronto's Drake Underground and webcast live on the Polaris Music Prize's Facebook page (see the full long list below). The incomparable Buffy Sainte-Marie, who won the award in 2015, was among the four people on-hand to make the announcement, 10 albums at a time.

Founder and executive director Steve Jordan was called away to Ottawa “tending to a family matter,” leaving CBC radio’s Raina Douris to lead the proceedings.

Nominees privy to their inclusion on the list, and onsite to talk to the press, were Iskwé, Jay Ferguson of Sloan, Duncan Hay Jennings from Frigs, Ian Swain and Alanna Stuart from Bonjay, Zaki Ibrahim, and Tamara Lindeman from The Weather Station. Clairmont The Second gave a surprise performance at the conclusion of the reveal.

For the long list, the 203-member jury (up two from 2017 and up from 192 in 2016) -- comprised of music journalists, broadcasters and music bloggers from across Canada and representing all genres – were called upon to select from 225 jury suggestion titles on the first ballot, which asks for their top 5 picks to be submitted via Polaris' password-accessed site. Only 191 actually voted.

Douris said this "longer list," all 225 considerations, will be revealed in September. "It will likely include whatever you are about to complain about being excluded today," she half-joked.

The albums are judged solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre, record sales or professional affiliation. The eligibility period for the titles is from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018.

From this list of 40, the same jurors are then asked to pick their top 5, which will comprise the 10 albums on the short list. That will be announced July 17.

The winner of Canada's best album of the year will be declared Sept. 17 at the end of the Polaris Gala, held at the Carlu in Toronto, as decided by a series of vote behind closed doors by an 11-member grand jury while the live performances take place. Even the jury does not know the winning album until it is announced onstage.

The winner receives $50,000 (CAD) and the nine other short-listed artists $3,000, courtesy of Slaight Music., also the main supporters of the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize, "basically the Polaris Hall of Fame," which will be announced at the gala.

Past winners of the Polaris Music Prize are:  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).

The 2018 Long List:

a l l i e - Nightshade            

Alvvays - Antisocialites

Arcade Fire - Everything Now

Bahamas - Earthtones

The Barr Brothers - Queens of the Breakers

Bernice - Puff LP: In the air without a shape

Jean-Michel Blais - Dans ma main

Bonjay - Lush Life

Booji Boys - Weekend Rocker

Philippe Brach - Le silence des troupeaux

Cadence Weapon - Cadence Weapon           

Daniel Caesar - Freudian

Jennifer Castle - Angels of Death

Clairmont The Second - Lil Mont from The Ave

Gord Downie - Introduce Yerself    

Jeremy Dutcher - Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

Faith Healer - Try ;-)           

FRIGS - Basic Behaviour

Zaki Ibrahim - The Secret Life of Planets

Iskwé - The Fight Within

Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song

Lydia Képinski - Premier Juin

Pierre Kwenders - MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time

Pierre Lapointe - La science du coeur

Melissa Laveaux - Radyo Siwèl

Hubert Lenoir - Darlène

Terra Lightfoot - New Mistakes      

Loud - Une année record  

Milk & Bone - Deception Bay

Partner - In Search Of Lost Time

Propagandhi - Victory Lap

Vivek Shraya & Queer Songbook Orchestra - Part-Time Woman

Sloan - 12

Snotty Nose Rez Kids - The Average Savage

U.S. Girls - In A Poem Unlimited

The Weather Station - The Weather Station

Weaves - Wide Open

Charlotte Day Wilson - Stone Woman

Donovan Woods - Both Ways