The shortlist of nominees for the 2007 Polaris Prize was announced last week, and here are the 10 recordings that made the cut:
Arcade Fire Neon Bible
The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse
The Dears Gang Of Losers
Julie Doiron Woke Myself Up
Feist The Reminder
Joel Plaskett Emergency Ashtray Rock
Junior Boys So This Is Goodbye
Miracle Fortress Five Roses
Chad VanGaalen Skelliconnection
Patrick Watson Close To Paradise
The choices are hardly surprising considering last year's indie-rock-heavy selection topped by Owen Pallett's overhyped Final Fantasy project. Once again, the Polaris shortlist is less a representation of the stylistic diversity of the deep Canadian talent pool than a sad reflection of the indie-rock bias of the journalists, broadcasters and industry insiders polled for their picks.
At least the 2006 Polaris shortlist included one recoding by a francophone indie crew ( Malajube ) and two hiphop artists ( K'naan and Cadence Weapon ). No such luck this time around.
In fact, not only were francophone and hiphop acts completely shut out - along with all artists from Toronto (Feist excepted) and Vancouver bizarrely enough - but there was nothing on the list connected with mainstream pop, punk, metal, folk, jazz, blues, soul, funk, Latin, reggae, country, bluegrass, classical, opera, techno, electronic or experimental music.
If the Polaris committee is interested in rewarding artistic achievement rather than running an indie-rock popularity contest, it's time to rethink the entire nominating process. They can start by replacing the current voters with people who listen to more than quirky pop made by middle-class nerds who sing in English and have a national distribution deal.
Here's our first annual Anti-Polaris shortlist of 20 recordings that should've been contenders for the $20,000 prize: Abdominal Escape From The Pigeon Hole; Afrodizz Froots; Alex Cuba Band Humo De Tabaco; Alexisonfire Crisis; BrassMunk The FEWturistic; Les Breastfeeders Les Matins De Grand Soirs; Elizabeth Shepherd Trio Start To Move; Fucked Up Hidden World; Jenn Grant Orchestra For The Moon ; Isis The Last Minute EP; k-os Atlantis: Hymns For The Disco ; Moneen The Red Tree; NoMeansNo All Roads Lead To Ausfahrt; Zachary Richard Lumière Dans Le Noir; The Sadies In Concert, Volume 1p; Shout Out Out Out Out Not Saying/Just Saying ; Twilight Circus Dub Sound System Presents Rasta International; Voivod Katorz; Vulgaires Machins Compter Les Corps; You Say Party We Say Die Lose All Time