If you haven’t heard of it yet, the Polaris Music Prize is an annual music award that celebrates the best in Canadian music. I mean, forget the Junos. They’ve always been an “industry” award, stuck in the same rut as the *cough* Grammys.
Now that I’ve cleared out my throat a little I can continue. Polaris Music Prize doesn’t bother with categories or an academy. Eleven Canadian music journalists are chosen each year to sit on a grand jury and debate between 10 deserving Canadian record titles. The winner gets a cash prize. That simple.
It’s hard to explain my obsession. I routinely rush out and aquire, by any means necessary, each nominated album, regardless of genre.
Last year I won a haiku review contest sponsored by Polaris Prize (for reviewing Colin Stetson’s amazing album).
I place bets with people who aren’t interested, discuss the merits of Cold Specks vs. Handsome Furs with those who think that one is a soft drink and the other is a children’s book. But every year I’m back, weighing in and predicting a winner.
This year I decided to tweet review each album in the week leading up to the awards gala, which will be broadcasted live on September 24.
Here are my mini reviews (less than 140 characters) for the 10 nominated albums for the Polaris Music Prize 2012: (in randomly alphabetical order)
1. Cadence Weapon – Hope in Dirt City: Spurts mazes of raps through odd incongruent beats. Strange characters, deadpan weirdery, hip hop madness.
2. Cold Specks – I Predict a Graceful Expulsion: Thick dense and breathy. Quiet instruments, smoky words. Music of yearning & redemption. Hovers below climax.
3. Drake – Take Care: Contradiction rap. Earnest, bloated, intelligent, vain. Like wearing a satin robe and holding a cold, stiff drink. Awesome.
4. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur: Pitch-perfect country w/o the twang. Melodies spun effortlessly into tragic tapestries. Impeccably produced.
5. Feist – Metals: Subtle, sexy, intelligent, intensely listenable. Goodbye to radio pop, hello to best music of her career.
6. F****d Up – David Comes to Life: Roaring, ambitious, blistering metafictional barrage of woeful tales, fuzz, screaming, and occasional beauty.
7. Grimes – Visions: Part technowizard hipster anime dance chick, part banshee. Slippery, high, beat-wild, multitracked, fem-swagger.
8. Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital: Punchy, egalitarian dance pop. Grungy vocals, haunted synths. Echoes of anarchy, worldly chaos tunes. Dialed!
9. Japandroids – Celebration Rock: Bottoms-up nostalgia. Music through filter of sweaty, boozy, rockin’, euphoric, distortion-laden catharsis.
10. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – YT//ST: Concise, succinct, sprawling epic of blended gender, genre, style and substance. Operatic, metallic, tres queer.
For these and more you can follow me on Twitter @theoddtopsy.
Oh, and my prediction for winner this year? Grimes.
My personal choice? Handsome Furs.