In Praise of the Polaris Music Prize & Caribou’s Andorra

October 1, 2008

I am really liking the latest Polaris prize winner, Caribou’s Andorra.

But I’m liking the Polaris Prize itself even more.

The Polaris prize is an annual award for best Canadian album, regardless of popularity and/or record company backing. Or so “they” say. Really, the albums picked tend to be the ones flying under the radar of most Canadians, such as myself, who do not have the time/chance/money/wherewithal to find the best stuff out there. Last year, the winner was Patrick Watson’s Close to Paradise, which was picked over better known acts like The Arcade Fire or Feist. After hearing about Patrick Watson’s album, Close to Paradise became one of my favourites for the rest of the year.

The prize is modeled after the UK’s Mercury Music Prize and comes with a $20,000 prize. Chump change for bestsellers in the recording industry, but a hefty sum for an independent musician.

Caribou, a.k.a. Dan Snaith, is a PhD in Mathematics and a hell of a percussionist. He was formerly known as Manitoba, but was bizarrely sued by an old and no-longer-prolific American singer, Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba (former lead singer of “The Dictators”).

The album is spacy, ethereal, ebullient, psychedelic, a mix of electronica and rock. Awesome.

Or not? Check out this other blog I’ve been following, which claims the Polaris prize is really about Torontonians promoting bottled water.


One comment

  1. yeah, i saw him live in hiotlamn a little while after the milk of human kindness was released, and it was definitely one of the tightest shows i’ve ever seen. he mixed up all the songs, added more percussion and insane drumming and probably burst my eardrum to shreds.

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