If there’s one constant in the music world it’s that people love lists — top ten lists, best of lists, year-end lists and on and on. But winning a spot on one particular list could earn a band big bucks and throngs of fans.
The Polaris Music Prize long list, which was announced yesterday, features 40 Canadian artists chosen by 181 music journalists from across the country. Musicians such as Leonard Cohen, K’Naan and Handsome Furs all made the cut, and are likely crossing their fingers that they’ll make Polaris’ short list, which will be announced July 7. If they make it that far, they’ll be one of 10 acts up for the $20,000 grand prize for best Canadian album of ’08-’09.
Although the contest is in its fourth year, Steve Jordan, the awards’ founder and executive director, has only released a long list the last two years. He says they decided to reveal the top 40 for three reasons.
“One is that we wanted to spread more love,” he says. “We have over two hundred records pretty much every year that get voted on, so there’s a lot of potential for some great art to get attention. It also helps us create anticipation for the short list, and we’re sensitive to some of the comments made that our short list was just made up of a certain style of music and therefore Polaris only paid attention to a specific genre.”
If this year’s long list has proved anything, it’s that the prize’s jury does have eclectic taste. While there’s plenty of brand name indie rock — Metric, The Stills, Wolf Parade — there are also many other acts representing numerous genres. Some of the other artists that made the list include Joel Plaskett, Martha Wainwright, k-os, Junior Boys and Rae Spoon.
While Jordan says it’s up to the public to decided whether or not the jury has chosen artists that represent Canada’s diverse musical landscape, he points out that a list with the legendary Cohen, Somali-born-Toronto-raised rapper K’naan, and Mexican American Montrealer Lhasa shows a “pretty good range.”
Most of the acts on the list probably hope they’ll make the short list and eventually win the prize, but even if they don’t, just making the top 40 can translate into a bump in popularity.
2009 Polaris Prize Long List
Presented by the Canada Council For The Arts:
Arkells – Jackson Square
Jill Barber – Chances
Beast – Beast
Bell Orchestre – As Seen Through Windows
Bison B.C. – Quiet Earth
Bruce Peninsula – A Mountain Is A Mouth
Cœur De Pirate – Cœur De Pirate
Leonard Cohen – Live In London
D-Sisive – 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
Japandroids – Post-Nothing
Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care
K’NAAN – Troubadour
K-OS – YES!
La patère rose – La patère rose
Land Of Talk – Some Are Lakes
Lhasa – Lhasa
Malajube – Labyrinthes
Metric – Fantasies
One Hundred Dollars – Forest Of Tears
Pink Mountaintops – Outside Love
Joel Plaskett – Three
Snailhouse – Lies On The Prize
Charles Spearin – The Happiness Project
Rae Spoon – superioryouareinferior
The Stills – Oceans Will Rise
Think About Life – Family
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
Women – Women
Woodpigeon – Treasury Library Canada C/W Houndstooth Europa