Inspired by the homie, Stu, here’s my best guess of what albums will be short-listed for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize. This is based on nothing more than intuition, wild supposition and (a lot of) wishful thinking so don’t pillory me if I am way the f-ck off from the actual list which will be announced today (July 17) on Sirius channel 152 on SiriusXM and CBC Radio 3:
01. A Tribe Called Red – A Tribe Called Red
02. Azari & III – Azari & III
03. Cadence Weapon – Hope in Dirt City
04. Cold Specks – I Predict A Graceful Expulsion
05. Drake – Take Care
06. Feist – Metals
07. Grimes – Visions
08. Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
09. The Slakadeliqs – The Other Side of Tomorrow
10. Patrick Watson – Adventures in Your Own Backyard
My best guess is that Feist will take the grand prize although the dark horse (no racism intended) are the two hip hop albums by Cadence Weapon and Drake and maybe Cold Specks. Wanna know how I actually voted though? Then hit the jump. In the meantime, if you don’t have time to go through all forty albums again (or, tsk tsk, for the first time), then enjoy this handy 2012 Polaris Prize Long List I created via Rdio. (As always, only snippets will play for non-subscribers so sign up to hear the full tracks and a gazillion other tracks.)
Yup, definitely saving the best ’til last. If you read this blog regularly, you already know I’m a major, major supporter of this album. It was #1 on my long list ballot and #1 on my short list ballot and I shout it out every chance I can including at the Long List Salon earlier this month.
Slakah has created an album of sublime yet ambitious, epic beauty. Lead single, “Keep Breathing” feat. Justin Nozuka is just the beginning of the album and of what is going here: soul, rock, psychedelia, pop, hip-hop and reggae have all been mashed up into a delicious stew that is at once vintage & organic yet still modern and fresh-sounding at the same time. Lazy pundits have dismissed this as Lenny Kravitz redux. Yes, that influence can be felt and has been acknowledged by Slakah himself but this feels like far more than just that and I truly feel sorry for those who don’t see/hear that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now: no disrespect to 40, Boi-1da, T-Minus or any of the other young producers from Canada that are running the music charts right now, but Slakah is the best, most underrated producer in Canada today, bar none. If I know my business, and at one point I did, that will not stay the case for very much longer though.
The fact that The Slakadeliqs The Other Side of Tomorrow was long-listed was truly a surprise to me despite what i just said and my love & wholehearted endorsement of the album. Now I pray that some new converts to the cause were made during the short list voting period that can carry him through to the next round when the short list is announced tomorrow. Fingers crossed. And speaking of the short list….
Guess I was saving the best ’til last? This was another really good record. I shouldn’t have been too surprised really though given that Patrick Watson was a prior Polaris Music Prize winner in 2007. However, I’ve never actually heard that album and was only vaguely aware of his past success which frankly didn’t really factor into my appraisal of his current album.
All I do know is that this was another crackin’ good listen. Great songs, and vocals of such delicate, fragile beauty they feel this.close to collapsing. But they don’t and this wonderful album is what we get instead, thankfully.
If I was going to use a crude benchmark (and it’s mostly crude because my frames of reference are somewhat limited in this area of music), think the best, most affecting ballads Chris Martin and Coldplay ever did and you get a sense of what you’re in store for here. Opening track, “Lighthouse”, “The Things You Do”, “Strange Crooked Road”, “Noisy Sunday” and “Swimming Pools” are just a few of the songs that blew my mind.
Dig the two track sampler above or intrigued by my rave review? Then hit the jump to listen to the whole album via Rdio (non-subscribers will hears snippets only. Sick of that being the case, then ak right and subscribe)
This is it, the HOLY GRAIL! After repeatedly saying throughout this journey through the Polaris Prize Long List nominated albums for this year how I would only be moved by one of the many, many (many) folk/country, indie/singer-songwriter-y albums on the list, if it was exceptional sounding. And just when I thought that might not happen this year or that just maybe my ears were just not attuned enough to this stuff to recognize the exceptional when I hear it, it finally reveals itself with only three albums left for me to review. Now others may disagree but Bry Webb‘s Provider is a really good listen to my ears. Quiet songs that still speak volumes. Simple but memorable. Heartfelt vocals. And with the kind of quality and personality in the songs that you can actually listen to them over and over again. “Get You Up In Peace” to cite just one standout song on a very good album is a really beautiful piece of music. I might not have voted for this but it was a contender and this is one album that, if it gets shortlisted, I will not have a quibble with over that fact. A pleasant, pleasant surprise.
Dig what you hear in the two track sampler from his label, Idée Fixe Records above or by my endorsement? Then hit the jump to hear the whole album via the Rdio streaming player (preview snippets only for non-Rdio subscribers but c’mon, stop playing and subscribe already)
Missed me at the Polaris Long List Salon from a couple weeks ago? It’s now available for download via AUX-TV’s podcast channel or just click play below (note: audio is little shaky in parts and also, if you are reading this and the streaming player is looking crazy, just mouse over it to highlight the play button). Other salon panelists were Liisa Ladouceur, James Keast (moderator), Aaron Levin and Michael Joffe.
BTW: damn, I look terrible in this picture. Seriously, I look like I’m balding! And on a re-listen to this audio, I am amazed at how many times I used the term, ‘quote-unquote hip-hop‘ – smdh. Also I know, I gotta finish my reviews of all the 2012 long list nominees. Only three to go….