Tegan and Sara, Purity Ring and Metric are among the 10 acts with albums on the short list for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize, along with releases by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Whitehorse, Young Galaxy, Colin Stetson, A Tribe Called Red, METZ and Zaki Ibrahim. The finalists were announced this morning in Toronto by singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards and rapper Shad, who will co-host the awards gala on September 23rd.
"It's an interesting breakdown every year," Steve Jordan, the founder and executive director of Polaris, told Rolling Stone. "It goes all over the map, but more importantly people really listen to each other in the internal discussions, even the ones who don't weigh in and aren't vocal. People still hear the arguments; they still hear someone's passion for a record that they may not themselves understand. It's an unseen benefit of Polaris is the openness we're instilling in the music media in Canada. People are really seriously considering their ballot every time they vote."
This year's contenders, "judged solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre or record sales" by more than 200 members of the Canadian music media, are Metric's Synthetica, Tegan and Sara's Heartthrob, METZ's METZ, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, Whitehorse's The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, Young Galaxy's Ultramarine, Purity Ring's Shrines, Zaki Ibrahim's Every Opposite, Colin Stetson's New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, and A Tribe Called Red's Nation II Nation.
An 11-member jury will vote on the Polaris winner behind closed doors at the awards gala while the nominees perform and receive individual acknowledgement awards. The winner is announced at the conclusion of the evening and receives $30,000. Runners up receive $,2000 each.
METZ were on hand for the announcement after flying in early this morning from playing Sub Pop's Silver Jubilee anniversary concert in Seattle over the weekend. "It's flattering," drummer Hayden Menzies told Rolling Stone. "It's cool anytime somebody takes notice or gives a shit about what you're doing." The trio, which has been on tour since last October, will continue playing festivals, mostly in Europe, until September, when they'll be back in time for the Polaris ceremony.
Montreal's Young Galaxy also attended the press conference, knowing in advance of their nomination. "We never expect any particular kind of critical response; we do it for other reasons," singer Catherine McCandless told Rolling Stone, "so when we get recognition like this, it's very rewarding; it tells us we're doing something right." The band is slowly making inroads in the U.S. with Ultramarine and has a tour planned in the fall.
The short list was culled from a long list of 40 albums that was announced in June. For both rounds, the jurors submitted online their top five full-length albums that had been released between June 1st, 2012, and May 31st, 2013. Jurors followed the same process to determine the short-list, selecting their top five albums from the pool of 40.