Arcade Fire, Gord Downie & Daniel Caesar Make Polaris Music Prize Long List
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
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN - Dirt