For the uninitiated, the Polaris Music Prize is an annual award bestowed upon the Best Canadian album of the past year, based on artistic merit alone. An initial long list of 40 eligible albums is announced in June, and is pared down to ten in early July. The winner is decided by a panel of Canadian journalists, media figures, and musicians, and is chosen regardless of genre, sales, or record label.
This year, Rdio has joined with the Polaris Music Prize to power a series of nominated album streams called the Polaris Record Club. Starting today, August 23, Rdio will enable free full album streaming of Short List nominated albums on the Polaris Music Prize website at www.polarismusicprize.ca. Twice a week, leading up to the Polaris Gala event on September 19 in Toronto, listeners in Canada can hear the following albums in their entirety, each for a 24 hour period.
But you can listen anytime on Rdio to the nominated artists and albums, which include:
- Braids - Native Speaker
- Destroyer - Kaputt
- Galaxie - Tigre et Diesel
- Hey Rosetta! - Seeds
- Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
- Timber Timbre - Creep on Creepin’ On
- Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer
- Austra - Feel It Break
The award, which recently grew from $20,000 to $30,000, was established in 2006. Past winners have included Patrick Watson’s Close to Paradise , Caribou’s Andorra, and Fucked Up’s The Chemistry of Common Life .
First up on the Polaris Record Club is Braids’ Native Speaker, an album that, since its release in January, set critics’ keypads ablaze in Canada and abroad. The album is the Montreal-based band’s second, and first since relocating to Montreal from Calgary. Native Speaker finds them experimenting with both electronic-based soundscapes and complex textures that bring to mind Feels-era Animal Collective. The mesmerizing rhythms and washes of sound are anchored by singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s emphatic alto, which also lends the album a sense of whimsy that is both hypnotic and catchy.
We'll continue to preview the albums nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in the coming weeks. In the meanwhile, follow Polaris on Rdio to stay on top of their latest discoveries and listen to their exclusive playlists, and be sure to check out PolarisMusicPrize.ca for all award-related info.