New Polaris Prize For Best Canadian Album
So there are a few bugs in the system. This much is clear: on June 6, organizers will announce (again, only in-person), the new award, which they compare to the UK's Mercury Prize. The 10-album Polaris Shortlist will be announced on July 4th in a blatant attempt to steal thunder from the United States' Independence Day.
American music bloggers will no doubt feel Torn Between Country And Duty, as they pound they their desks (if they have more than one) with frustration, crying out, "What do I write about today? Something patriotic or the Polaris Prize?" Torn Between Country And Duty would surely make a stirring TV-movie. However, to save on costs it would likely wind up shooting in Canada.
The Polaris Prize winner will be announced (and given the cash) in September, in a blatant attempt to detract attention from a possible stirring Wham reunion in England. Clever Canadians.
The only standard for the Prize is "artistic excellence, irrespective of genre or sales"
The aforementioned reporter quotes the letter she received inviting her to serve on the Polaris jury:
Polaris winners will be selected solely on artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation...If you accept, you'll be asked to submit a list of five Canadian albums you think represent the best music of the year. There are no criteria other than your own impeccable taste. There is no entry process. No big box of CDs will land on your desk, no salesman will call.
Albums must be at least 30 minutes or 8 tracks long and have been released between June 1, 2005 and May 31, 2006.
The Polaris Music Prize organization is a registered, not-for-profit organization, with major funding from the Retail Music Association of Canada and the Canadian Recording Industry Association. A compilation of tracks from Shortlist-nominated albums will be released by Warner Music Canada, with funds going to the Polaris organization.
The Executive Director is Steve Jordan, former A&R Director for True North Records. He cites the initial success of Canadian artists such as The Arcade Fire, Kathleen Edwards, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sarah Harmer, The Weakerthans, Buck 65, The Constantines, K-OS, Feist and Broken Social Scene in Canada, as they were "embraced by journalists and progressive radio programmers" before they became successful elsewhere. Jordan says, "With Polaris, we will harness that energy and turn it into something that Canadian music fans will get excited about."
Kathleen Edwards - Summerlong (available on Back to Me)
The Weakerthans - This Is A Firedoor Never Leave Open (available on Left & Leaving)
Buck 65 - The Suffering Machine (available on Secret House Against The World)