Carl Wilson at Zoilus has an entry about the Polaris Music Prize, a new Canadian music award born from the desire to recognize recordings on the basis of artistic merit instead of commercial success (fingers pointed at you, Juno Awards).
The winner of this year’s Polaris, which counts albums released between June 2005 and May 2006 as eligible, gets $20,000, a pretty penny in Canadian music. Similar to the Mercury Prize in the U.K., a shortlist will be published on July 4, from which the winner will be chosen in September. A jury of more than 100 critics will make the selection.
Sounds like a long overdue idea to me, although I wonder how soon before a backlash will kick in, again similar to the Mercury. (Last year’s winner was Antony & the Johnsons, a U.K.-born artist who calls America home — hence the backlash.)
For what it’s worth, my nominees would have to include:
Islands, Return to the Sea
Destroyer, Destroyer’s Rubies
Parlour Steps, The Great Perhaps
Broken Social Scene, self-titled
Sarah Harmer, I’m A Mountain
The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema