As was announced on Sept. 24, this year’s Polaris Music Prize winner is Feist for her album Metals. While it was a perfectly fine record, it didn’t totally deserve the win.
The Polaris is a not-for-profit organization that aims to celebrate creativity and diversity in Canadian music. If you’ve had your music in an iPod commercial or for sale in Starbucks, though, you probably don’t need the $30,000 prize. Indeed, many up-and-coming artists could put that hefty sum to good use.
It’s a shame, really, since the Polaris Music Prize started off as what seemed to be much-needed recognition for overlooked Canadian independent music. In the past two years, however, the Polaris winners — Feist and Arcade Fire — had also won Junos earlier in the year, and even a Grammy in Arcade Fire’s case.
There have been enough creative, inventive releases over the past year that Feist is hardly representative of the current state of Canadian music. Instead, let’s focus on three Canadian acts who were my personal top picks.
The Weather Station:
Singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman’s sophomore effort, All of It Was Mine, wasn’t nominated for the Polaris Prize Long List, but it certainly would have been deserving of some recognition. The album is a soothing collection of soft folk songs, with delicate and simple arrangements that make each track all the more compelling. Lindeman’s beautiful voice and finger-picking make this record an instant classic.
Cannon Bros didn’t make the cut to the shortlist, but their Firecracker/Cloudglow stood out. The Winnipeg duo’s indie pop fare is boosted by energetic vocals and fun guitar riffs. Firecracker/Cloudglow is a straightforward collection of catchy tunes reminiscent of these sunny fall afternoons.
The buzz surrounding Claire Boucher and her experimental dream pop had the potential to hype her up to an unattainable standard. Still, the 24-year-old’s 2012 full-length Visions holds up and exceeds expectations. A dancey-yet-ethereal collection of densely layered tunes, it’s probably physically impossible to not thoroughly enjoy each track.
It’s hard to pin Grimes down to a particular genre, as Boucher draws heavily from an eclectic variety of influences. Inventive and addictive, the shortlisted Visions stays fresh with every listen.
Grimes - Nightmusic
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