Monday, June 15, 2009

they sing "I'm in love, what's that song?"

It was the ever-vigilant Ruhee (she's like a little meerkat) who first sounded the alarm that the long list for this year's Polaris Prize has been announced. And it's quite the list.

It's almost alarming, having a long list for the first time, the names of those 40 albums staring you down, each one daring you to find another one more worthy than itself to make the short list of ten. How the hell you chose the ultimate winner is beyond me.

What do you think of the list?

Jackson Square
Jill Barber,
Bell Orchestre, As Seen Through Windows
Bison BC,
Quiet Earth
Bruce Peninsula,
A Mountain Is A Mouth
Coeur de Pirate,
Coeur de Pirate
Leonard Cohen, Live in London
Let The Children Die
Elephant Stone, The Seven Seas
Elliott Brood, Mountain Meadows
Fucked Up, The Chemistry of Common Life
Great Lake Swimmers,
Lost Channels
Handsome Furs,
Face Control
Tim Hecker,
An Imaginary Country
Hey Rosetta!, Into Your Lungs
Junior Boys,
Begone Dull Care
K’Naan, Troubadour
La patère rose, La patère rose
Land of Talk, Some Are Lakes
Lhasa, Lhasa
$100, Forest of Tears
Pink Mountaintops,
Outside Love
Joel Plaskett,
Lies on the Prize
Charles Spearin,
The Happiness Project
Rae Spoon,
The Stills,
Oceans Will Rise
Think About Life,
Timber Timbre,
Timber Timbre
Chad VanGaalen, Soft Airplane
Martha Wainwright,
I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too
Patrick Watson, Wooden Arms
Wolf Parade,
At Mount Zoomer
Woodpigeon, Treasury Library Canada C/W Houndstooth Europa

It might have been easier had they just listed the albums that didn't make the cut. Actually there were a couple of noteworthy ones that didn't, in my opinion, and I am sure I am not the only Canadian music aficionado who has a quibble or two, but for some reason, I did not receive my invitation to be a Polaris judge. I'm sure they feel horribly about the oversight, so I am not going be make a big fuss about it.

It's worth noting that four Calgary artists are on the list: Chad VanGaalen (no surprise there), WOMEN (also expected), Woodpigeon (I actually didn't think this album quite lived up to the last, but I still love this band), and Rae Spoon (finally!). I'm hoping that Rae Spoon's inclusion will prompt Megatunes to get off their asses and get some more copies of his album in. I've been trying to buy it for months.

You can check out Rae Spoon here and get Come On Forest Fire Burn the Disco Down stuck in your head for two weeks, like I did. Or take the arguably safer route and watch some concert footage on this video:


Remi said...

I own 5 of the 40.

Personally, I'm leaning towards Plaskett's Three. The audacity of putting together a 3 disc set obsessed with the number 3 and then having it work so well is more than worthy of the prize.

As much as I idolize Cohen and like the disc, I'd have a hard time voting for a live disc.

Just looking at the list makes me want to make a trip to Soundscapes - there's so much good music here.

Allison said...

When I first read this I was like, "What no Sunset Rubdown?" Then I realised its technically not out yet...oops.

Look forward to the shortlist. These long lists make my head spin. I might be getting too immersed in CanCon because I thought this list was a little mainstream... ;)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

And don't forget that Joel Plaskett is the nicest guy in rock, Remi. It's a reputation that he really does live up to.
I was wondering about the Cohen discs (there are two) as well. I sort of thought that a live cd was against the Polaris regulations, but I admit that I haven't read the fine print. I assume that they weren't sure if they would ever get another chance to honour him with a nomination.

Indeed, Al, the timeframe applies only to the official release date of the album.
I'm not sure if it's really all that mainstream, but one of the mandates is to nominate regardless of genre. To date we haven't seen any Celine Dion Polaris nominations, which of course would be the kiss of death. And rightly so.

Remi said...

Although I'm still not fond of the Cohen set being on the list, I can play devil's advocate and say that Cohen 08 is a far different performer than Cohen 68 or Cohen 78.

In some ways, these discs are a reinvention - a happier guy who avoids the histrionics and, instead, focuses on showmanship and entertainment.

That said, if he can win an award for best male vocalist (as he has in the past), I'm pretty sure he can win anything.

Charlie said...

It's no surprise that I've never heard of any of these artists and groups: "The US is for US bands, by gawd." Assholes.

I really liked that Rae Spoon video--can you say "a real country voice?" I'm wondering about the fiddler, though, and using the side of the bow to no particular purpose. A Keith Richards moment, perhaps?

BeckEye said...

Okay, I'm just commenting to give myself props for finally knowing what song your title is from. Alex Chilton! Yay me!!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

He certainly does seem content and to have a really good rapport with the audience on this live recording, Remi. There is a genuine two-way appreciation that comes across.

I'll let you in on a little secret, Charlie, many Canadians have never heard of most of these bands either. You are in good company.
Rae Spoon's got a great sound, doesn't he? Makes no apologies for it either. I don't know enough about fiddling to realise that there is some unusual bow usage going on there. Maybe it's showmanship, maybe it's to make a specific sound?

Yay you, Beckeye! You win the much covetted title identifier of the week award! Keep up the excellent work.

Gifted Typist said...

I'm more of a shortlist gal, myself, but appreciate those with the knowledge and tenacity to be long-listers

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Long lists can be a bit intimidating, Gifted, but personally I find them easier to make than short ones. Less of a commitment somehow.

Ruh said...

I just noticed that you called me a meerkat. That's kind of awesome.

Sorry I've been so MIA lately on your blog -- I have almost no internet at home. Once I get back to Calgary I'll read it all! I hope you're well!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hey, RUH, you meerkat, good to see you! I'm shocked you aren't Howdying this year, but I trust you will make it back for folk fest? Looking forward to catching up with you.