You heard it here first: Canada is the new Portland/Williamsburg/Milton Bradley’s Candyland. You go to Canada and the place is just swimming with super-talented musicians. For real (NOTE: absolutely none of this is real), once I went to Toronto and there was one of those crazy McDonald’s where you can put vinegar on your fries and even order pizza, and it was literally staffed entirely by members of Arcade Fire. I was so amazed that I walked outside to breathe in their clean, northern air and savor my vinegar pizza and as I was sitting there, I was approached by a BLUEJAY who had been in a band with LESLIE FEIST. This was so astounding that I decided to see more of this beautiful country. I got on the highway and was halfway to Montreal before I realized that THE HIGHWAY CONSISTED OF A STRANGE CANADIAN MIXTURE OF ASPHALT AND HAIR FROM THE MEMBERS OF BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE. So, everything in Canada is musical. And magical. It is a magical, musical land.
At least that’s the impression one might get from the shortlist for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize, set to be awarded on September 19. These people are puttin’ birds on EVERYTHING, and they’re making genre-bending or just straight up supremely well-rounded music while they’re at it. Now, it’s no surprise that Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs did extremely well at the Grammys, but check out some of these other honorees. Colin Stetson? Austra? The Weeknd? Braids? Destroyer? It really says something awesome about a nation when not only does it have a cool, supportive award like Polaris, but also a varied group of largely indie artists to choose from. You can catch live performances from the nominated artists during the awards gala via SiriusXM Satellite Radio 152 (North America), CBC Radio 3 (worldwide), or by streaming the webcast on MuchMusic.com.
Polaris Music Prize shortlist:
• Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
• Austra, Feel It Break
• Braids, Native Speaker
• Destroyer, Kaputt
• Galaxie, Tigre et diesel
• Hey Rosetta!, Seeds
• Ron Sexsmith, Long Player Late Bloomer
• Colin Stetson, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
• Timbre Timbre, Creep On Creepin’ On and
• The Weeknd, House of Balloons
• Polaris Music Prize: http://www.polarismusicprize.ca