As previously mentioned, the countdown to the 2011 Polaris Music Prize Gala is in full swing. Slated for September 19th, yesterday saw the Long List of 40 nominees pared down to 10. The ten Short List nominees will each receive $2,000 and and performing slot at the gala. For those uninitiated, Polaris is the annual Canadian prize for musical excellence, given to independent artists and musicians. Any Canadian is eligible, provided they’ve crafted a 30+ minute, 8+ song album. The selection process is performed by a jury of Canadian music bloggers and journalists that are themselves handpicked by The Polaris Executive Director and Polaris Board of Directors. An 11-member Grand Jury is selected each year to convene at the Gala and decide on the grand prize winner, who receives $30,000 in cash. You can find out more about Polaris on their website; in the meantime we’ve got the Short List nominees:
Arcade Fire - The Surburbs
Austra - Feel it Break
Braids - Native Speaker
Destroyer - Kaputt
Galaxie - Tigre et diesel
Hey Rosetta! - Seeds
Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer
Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Pt. 2: Judges
Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin’ On
The Weeknd - House of Balloons
Past winners of the prize include Karkwa, Fucked Up, Caribou, Patrick Watson, and Final Fantasy (now Owen Pallett). Some fun facts about this year’s shortlist:
- Only 2 of the artists nominated have been nominated in previous years: Arcade Fire in 2007 for Neon Bible, and Hey Rosetta! in 2009 for Into Your Lungs.
- Three of the nominated albums are debuts: Austra’s Feel it Break, Braids’ Native Speaker, and The Weeknd’s House of Balloons.
- House of Balloons is also the first free album nominated for the prize.
- Galaxie is the fourth French-language artist to make the short list.
If you’re unfamiliar with any of the nominees, KEXP’s got you covered. Below you’ll find clips from every artist on the shortlist, which may make it easier to hedge your bets come September.