Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Metric, Tegan and Sara, Godspeed! Make Short List for $30,000 Polaris Prize

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Metric, Tegan and Sara, Godspeed! Make Short List for $30,000 Polaris Prize

Article excerpt

Metric, Stetson make Polaris Prize short list


TORONTO - Considering its remarkable cachet, it can be easy to forget that the Polaris Prize -- awarded to the artist who produced Canada's top album of the year -- is still fairly new, not even 10 years old.

And once in a while, a band like Metz -- among the 10 groups shortlisted for the $30,000 award on Tuesday -- will remind you how young it is.

"I didn't even know what Polaris was," said Hayden Menzies, of the Toronto noise-rock trio. "I'm serious. We've never done music or band stuff for any type of recognition beyond just being able to play shows for people."

Toronto new-wave band Metric, Montreal jazz saxophonist Colin Stetson and Calgary twins Tegan and Sara were the only artists to make a return appearance on the Polaris short list, pared down from the 40-album long list.

Otherwise, the Polaris short list newcomers to join Metz were Montreal art-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Nanaimo, B.C.-born songwriter Zaki Ibrahim, Montreal electronic act Purity Ring, Hamilton roots duo Whitehorse, Aboriginal hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Red, and Montreal-based electro pop outfit Young Galaxy.

While the news truly came as a shock to Menzies, who flew in from Seattle on Tuesday morning with his bandmate Chris Slorach, he said it remained an honour.

"It's flattering. It makes us look at things outside our own little tunnel vision," he said. Added Slorach: "Canadian music is very strong right now."

The award, founded eight years ago and selected by a jury of music journalists, bloggers and broadcasters, has quickly established itself with a reputation of finding the best in Canadian music across multiple genres and providing a spotlight for lesser-known acts.

"The thing is that it's less recognized than the mainstream in some ways and the Polaris extracts or lifts up a few and that really makes a huge difference as far as your ability to maintain the process," said Catherine McCandless, singer and keyboardist in Young Galaxy, who were recognized for their fourth album, "Ultramarine. …

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