The votes are in. The 2014 Polaris Music Prize nominees have been whittled from a 40-artist long list (technically 41 this year, due to a vote-tallying snafu), to a shortlist of the top 10 albums - based solely on artistic merit - released in Canada between June 2013 and May 2014.
Selected by a jury of 190 music journalists and professionals from across the country, the list contains few surprises, but represents a variety of genres including indie-rock, rap, folk and electro-R&B. Short list regulars and anticipated frontrunners Drake, Arcade Fire, Shad and Owen Pallett all made the cut. Basia Bulat, Timber Timbre and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan have also been nominated before. First-timers Jessy Lanza, Mac DeMarco and Tanya Tagaq round out the finalists.
Much of Canada is represented geographically. Drake and Owen Pallett are from Toronto; Arcade Fire represent Montreal; Timber Timbre and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are both Toronto/Montreal hybrids; Shad is from London but lives in Vancouver; Jessy Lanza and Basia Bulat are from Hamilton and London, respectively; Mac DeMarco was born in British Columbia; and Tanya Tagaq hails from Nunavut and lives in Brandon, Manitoba.
The short list was announced Tuesday at the Carlu by actor Jay Baruchel.
The winner of the $30,000 grand prize will be announced on September 22 at the Polaris Prize Gala.
Below, find a selection of the short list's tunes: