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Get to know the Polaris Music Prize Short List nominees

August 18, 2015

Learn the facts behind the 2015 Short List.

One of the spiciest debates in Canadian music each year revolves around who should win the Polaris Music Prize, an award to determine the best album of the year “based solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre or record sales.”

We broke down some fast facts on the 10 contenders from the 2015 Polaris Music Prize Short List:

Alvvays – Alvvays

Current City:
Toronto, ON

Members:
Molly Rankin
Kerri MacLellan
Alec O’Hanley
Brian Murphy
Phil MacIsaac

Polaris History:
This is their first nominated album.

Release Date:
July 22, 2014

Label:
Royal Mountain

Facts:
– Molly Rankin is the daughter of the late John Morris Rankin, an original member of The Rankin Family.

– Past Polaris nominee Chad VanGaalen produced this album.

– O’Hanley was also Polaris nominated in 2008 with his old band Two Hours Traffic.

 

BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul

Current City:
Toronto, ON

Members:
Matthew A. Tavares
Chester Hansen
Alexander Sowinski
Ghostface Killah

Polaris History:
This is BBNG’s second nomination. Their III album made the Polaris Long List in 2014.

Release Date:
February 24, 2015

Label:
Lex Records/eOne Music Canada

Facts:
– MF DOOM, Elzhi (Slum Village / J Dilla), Danny Brown and Tree all have guest spots on the album.

– On the song “Food” Ghostface encourages eating fish because it’s “brain food.”

Sour Soul took three years to record with producer Frank Dukes acting as middleman between BBNG and Ghost.

 

Braids – Deep in the Iris

Current City:
Montreal, QC

Members:
Raphaelle Standell-Preston
Austin Tufts
Taylor Smith

Polaris History:
This is Braids’ second nomination. Their Native Speaker album made the Polaris Short List in 2011.

Release Date:
April 28, 2015

Label:
Arbutus/Flemish Eye

Facts:
– The cover of Deep In The Iris is a photo of a swimming hole the band frequented while recording in Putney, Vermont.

– Some of the heavy subjects tackled on the album include pornography, abuse, and slutshaming.

– Standell-Preston used Joni Mitchell’s Blue album as inspiration for her contributions to Deep In The Iris.

 

Caribou – Our Love

Current City:
London, UK

Members:
Dan Snaith

Polaris History:
This is Caribou’s third nomination. The Andorra album won the 2008 Polaris Music Prize. Swim made the Polaris Short List in 2010.

Release Date:
October 6, 2014

Label:
City Slang/Merge

Facts:
– Past Polaris winner Owen Pallett and past Polaris Short Lister Jessy Lanza contribute to Our Love.

– Dan Snaith says the album’s personal nature was inspired by the birth of his daughter.

– The Our Love title is a partial tribute to his fans, family and musicians he works with.

 

Jennifer Castle – Pink City

Current City:
Toronto, ON

Members:
Jennifer Castle

Polaris History:
This is her first nominated album.

Release Date:
September 2, 2014

Label:
Idée Fixe/No Quarter

Facts:
– Past Polaris winner Owen Pallett also contributed to Pink City.

– Castle has also recorded with past Polaris winners Fucked Up on their songs “The Other Shoe” and “Year of the Pig.”

– The video for “Nature” features Castle on a Ferris wheel (wearing sunglasses) at night.

 

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Current City:
Toronto, ON

Members:
Drake

Polaris History:
This is Drake’s third nomination. The Take Care album made the Polaris Short List in 2012. Nothing Was The Same made the Polaris Short List in 2014.

Release Date:
February 13, 2015

Label:
Universal Music Canada/Cash Money/OVO Sound

Facts:
– Lil Wayne, PartyNextDoor and Travi$ Scott all have guest spots on the album.

– The song “6 God” features a sample from the Donkey Kong Country 2 soundtrack.

– Toronto Raptors basketball player DeMar DeRozan “leaked” that If You’re Reading… existed four months before its release.

 

Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon

Current City:
North Vancouver, BC

Members:
Tobias Jesso Jr.

Polaris History:
This is his first nominated album.

Release Date:
March 17, 2015

Label:
Arts & Crafts/True Panther Sounds

Facts:
– New Pornographers’ John Collins was one of four producers who worked on Goon, along with The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, Ariel Rechtshaid and ex-Girls member Chet “JR” White.

– Danielle Haim of the sisters Haim played drums on “Without You.”

– Jesso didn’t start actively playing the piano until age 27. He’s 30 now.

 

The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

Current City:
Vancouver, BC

Members:
Dan Bejar
Kathryn Calder
Neko Case
John Collins
Todd Fancey
Carl Newman
Blaine Thurier

Polaris History:
This is The New Pornographers’ fourth nomination. Twin Cinema made the Polaris Short List in 2006. Challengers made the Polaris Long List in 2008 and Together made the Polaris Long List in 2010.

Release Date:
August 26, 2014

Label:
Last Gang/Matador

Facts:
– Calder, Newman and Bejar (as Destroyer) have all been Polaris nominated in the past for their solo albums.

– Amber Webber from past Polaris nominees Black Mountain contributes vocals on “Born With A Sound.”

– The album’s harmonica sounds are inspired by John Barry’s “Midnight Cowboy Theme.”

 

Buffy Sainte-Marie – Power in The Blood

Current City:
Hawaii, USA

Members:
Buffy Sainte-Marie

Polaris History:
This is her first nominated album.

Release Date:
May 12, 2015

Label:
True North

Facts:
– Originally recorded by British house act Alabama 3 in 2002, the song “Power In The Blood” features some new lyrics by Sainte-Marie.

– “Sing Our Own Song,” UB40’s anti-apartheid song from 1986, also gets covered/reinterpreted by Sainte-Marie.

– Translated from Cree, the song title “Ke Sakihitin Awasis” means “I love you, baby.”

 

Viet Cong – Viet Cong

Current City:
Calgary, AB

Members:
Matt Flegel
Mike Wallace
Scott Munro
Daniel Christiansen

Polaris History:
This is their first nominated album.

Release Date:
January 20, 2015

Label:
Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar

Facts:
– Flegel and Wallace used to be in the band Women, who were Polaris nominated in 2009 and 2011.

– Graham Walsh from past Polaris nominees Holy Fuck produced this album.

– Flegel and Munro have also played together as part of past Polaris nominee Chad Van Gaalen’s backing band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdMz7BUtOvk

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