July 10, 2007




Feist, Fire get Polaris noms
By CASSANDRA SZKLARSKI


Arcade Fire (CP file photo)

TORONTO (CP) - The Montreal music scene continues to thrive, at least according to the list of nominees for this year's Polaris Music Prize.

Half of the 10 discs shortlisted for the $20,000 award come from Montreal acts, including Arcade Fire, Patrick Watson, the Dears, Miracle Fortress and the Besnard Lakes.

Other nominees announced Tuesday include releases from Calgary's Feist, Halifax's Joel Plaskett, Sackville, N.B.'s Julie Doiron, Hamilton's Junior Boys, and Calgary's Chad VanGaalen.

The award is meant to recognize Canada's best album based on creative quality, regardless of musical genre or sales figures, much like the esteemed Mercury Prize in the U.K.

Plaskett said he was happy his disc is among the contenders, many of them from lesser-knowns who organizers say can expect to see a jump in record sales.

"I'm thrilled, there's some great records in the category," said Plaskett, on hand for the announcement at a hip hotel patio bar also featuring 2006 nominee Cadence Weapon spinning records.

Despite the strong Quebec presence, none of the nominated discs come from francophone acts, unlike last year's diverse lineup, notes CBC Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence.

"Compared to last year's list, which included an incredible balance of music styles, cultural diversity, and levels of success (Malajube, K'Naan, the Deadly Snakes, Sarah Harmer, Broken Social Scene, Metric, the New Pornographers, Cadence Weapon, Wolf Parade, and the eventual winner, Final Fantasy), this list seems quite ... narrow in scope," Lawrence, a member of the 2006 jury, blogs on the Radio 3 site.

"Still an amazing list of records ... but ... seems kinda ... white."

Montreal emerged as a hotbed of music buzz in recent years, buoyed by the international success of bands like Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade and the cross-over gains of francophone acts like Malajube and Les Breastfeeders.

This year's shortlist was drawn up from submissions by more than 170 Canadian music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers who provided their top five picks.

To be eligible, an album had to be released between June 1, 2006, and May 31, 2007. A jury of 11 people will pick the winner at a gala concert on Sept. 24.

Last year's winner came from the violin-based act Final Fantasy, who beat out more well-known groups to snag the inaugural cheque as well as increased sales and concert bookings.

The week after the win, Final Fantasy, basically the one-man project of musician Owen Pallett, saw record sales double for the disc "He Poos Clouds," manager Steven Himmelfarb said in a Polaris press release.

Those behind 2006 nominees Harmer, Wolf Parade and Malajube said they also saw a jump in sales after their discs made the shortlist.


HOT MUSIC HEADLINES
Madonna signs $120M deal
Spears seeks extra visitation with sons
McCartney, Mills in court
A divorce helps answer, 'Who is Jill Scott'?
Van Zant provide more southern rock
The Boss rules Cdn. charts
Venezuela cancels Alejandro Sanz show
New Radiohead album reviewed
Singer Hanson glad to be back
Live Review: Jennifer Lopez in Toronto
More Headlines
Slash caught between worlds
Ted Leo battling tough year
Weakerthans stay modest
New Wailin' Jenny fitting in
Diddy denies nightclub assault
Bobby Brown has mild heart attack
New Britney album out Oct. 30
Q&A with Kid Rock
Animal Collective aims for the futuristic
Tender tribute for Otis Redding


Lowdown column
Get the inside scoop on the Canadian music industry with Karen Bliss.
Who's coming and when
Want to know when your favourite band is coming to town? Check out Clive, JAM Music's extensive Canadian concert listings.
TV Listings
Wondering what's on tonight? Check out our TV listings for the complete schedule in your area.


Did you win one of four 2-day passes to the Virgin Festival in T.O.?

Win tickets to T.O.'s Virgin Festival

Imagine Music winners




Wham






What would most deter you from illegally downloading music?
Stiffer punishments like fines and prison
Better and/or cheaper CDs in stores
Better and/or cheaper legal alternatives online
Nothing; buying music is for suckers


Results