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The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 758: 10 Years of the Polaris Music Prize

There isn’t another music event in Canada that generates as much controversy, praise, bitching, arguing, debate and music discovery as the Polaris Music Prize. Ever since Steve Jordan founded Polaris in the mid-oughts, it’s become the lightning rod for people who want to debate the concept of great music in the country.

Its mission is simple: to identify the best Canadian album of the year regardless of genre or commercial success. Albums are nominated by some 200 music writers, bloggers, broadcasters and hardcore geeks–in short, people obsessed with listening to all kinds of music 24/7–and then whittled down to a Short List of ten finalists. A grand jury of 11 humans, good and true, hash it out until there’s a winner. The artist behind that album receives a nice cash prize.

Now in its eleventh year, I thought it was time we visited what Polaris hath wrought over the last decade. Where are the previous winners? What effects has Polaris had on Canadian music? And what goes into making Polaris the anti-Junos?

I sat down with Steve for a long talk about the whole thing so you can be prepared for the 2016 awards, which are coming up Monday, September 19, at the Carlu in Toronto.

Songs on this week’s show include:

  • The Arctic Circle, Final Fantasy
  • The Great Escape, Patrick Watson
  • Melody Day, Caribou
  • Black Albino Bones, Fucked Up
  • Les chemins de verre, Karkwa
  • Ready to Start, Arcade Fire
  • How Come You Never Go There?, Feist
  • Mladic, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
  • Caribou, Tanya Tagaq
  • Power in the Blood, Buffy Sainte-Marie

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37899 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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