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2009 Winner & Nominees
The 2009 Polaris Music Prize Winner - Fucked Up

Artist: Fucked Up
Album: The Chemistry Of Common Life
From: Toronto
Links: Website

So people say Canadian songwriting is ironic and distanced? Fucked Up has as direct a line to pissed-offness as any Brit or U.S. punk. Yet they rewrite the laws of fast-hard-loud with eight-minute songs, melodious backup vocals, even flutes. The Chemistry of Common Life confirms Canadians can wear their brains on their sleeves even without a shirt - the sound of a year when everything depended on getting mad without getting stupid.

Carl Wilson, Globe And Mail, Toronto


The 2009 Polaris Music Prize Short List Nominees

Artist: Elliott BROOD
Album: Mountain Meadows
From: Toronto
Links: Website

Mountain Meadows has the old-shoe familiarity that’s essential to good roots
music, but there’s something wild and dangerous around the edges that
flashes like heat lightning and crackles like ozone. Intimate and yet
somehow epic, it doesn’t inspire singing along; it inspires howling.

Jill Wilson, Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg


Artist: Great Lake Swimmers
Album: Lost Channels
From: Toronto
Links: Website

Lost Channels isn’t a record you listen to. It’s a record you absorb. Each smoldering word, each angelic melody seeps deep into your humanity and becomes part of the hopeful light within. The Great Lake Swimmers make every song feel precious. Lost Channels is truly gorgeous, and no one’s whole without it.

Amanda Ash, freelance journalist, Vancouver


Artist: Hey Rosetta!
Album: Into Your Lungs (and around your heart and on through your blood)
From: St. John's
Links: Website

From Newfoundland you say? Into Your Lungs by Hey Rosetta! offers a delicious collection of memory-engraving mini-epics where classic meets classical and the conventional takes flights of fancy into intelligent, extended excursions that know when to quit – all while maintaining a firm grasp on melodic vibrancy, soaring dynamic range, and broad instrumental palette.

Roch Parisien, Galaxie Folks Roots, Ottawa


Artist: K'NAAN
Album: Troubadour
From: Toronto
Links: Website

My first experience with K’NAAN’s Troubadour album was a complete revelation. Here was a collection of 14 songs that were masterly crafted, hook laden, inspirational, and completely joyful, despite the occasional dark subject matter. With repeated listening my affection and admiration only grew and it became clear that Troubadour was a Canadian classic.

Robert Benson, Bravo, Toronto


Artist: Malajube
Album: Labyrinthes
From: Montréal
Links: Website

Die-hard Quebec rockers used to say Malajube were “precious”. When the band came up with an infectious nugget of a second album, Trompe-l’œil, some chuckled at the inventive synths and clever lyrics; and when the band launched their intricately proggy and spookingly medieval third, Labyrinthes, a few still wouldn’t budge. I say that if going labyrinthine after a world-wide indie success isn’t a sign of having rock-hard balls, all the while infusing the new twists and turns they’ve taken with a natural talent for poppy hooks, I don’t know what is. So, precious? Sure. Because Malajube’s latest is a truly unique rock gem.

Evelyne Côté, ici, Montréal


Artist: Metric
Album: Fantasies
From: Toronto
Links: Website

I dreamed of being a food critic. But being born without a sense of smell or taste I had to settle for being a music fan. The prep time for recipe number four from Metric took four years. They started with fresh organic ingredients, added a little dabble from the spice rack, simmered in a traditional old school manner, gave it a cutting edge presentation, then sat back and let the big, bold flavours do their thing. And Fantasies became reality.

Dave Bookman, 102.1 The Edge, Toronto


Artist: Joel Plaskett
Album: Three
From: Halifax
Links: Website

Triple vinyl, triple CD, songs with three-way titles recorded when he was 33, Joel Plaskett’s Three could be dismissed as a vanity concept album if it wasn’t so uniformly strong: 27 songs of heartfelt country, Celtic-tinged folk, freewheeling rock and horn-driven soul, featuring the best lyrics in Plaskett’s fabled career.

Nicholas Jennings, freelance journalist, Toronto


Artist: Chad VanGaalen
Album: Soft Airplane
From: Calgary
Links: Website

Soft Airplane clawed its way to the surface from deep inside Chad VanGaalen. With metronomic banjo plucks giving way to unabashed rock anthems and spastic electronics collapsing into passionate, pulsating climaxes, the album seamlessly melds all of his favourite musical tricks, making for an engaging trip through a curious, beautiful labyrinth of sounds.

Patrick Boyle, ffwd, Calgary


Artist: Patrick Watson
Album: Wooden Arms
From: Montréal
Links: Website

Some say this album was recorded in Iceland, France, and Montreal, others that it was crafted in a secret workshop where mechanical peacocks flutter, cartoons come to life, and miniature rockets burst through the ceiling to let stardust filter in. Watson and the Wooden Arms ignore the grown-up dullards, the common-sense men; they aim for the impossible and deliver magic.

Mike Doherty, National Post, Toronto


The 2009 Polaris Music Prize Long List Nominees

Arkells - Jackson Square
Hamilton
Website

Jill Barber - Chances
Port Credit
Website

Beast - Beast
Montréal
Website

Bell Orchestre - As Seen Through Windows
Montréal
Website

Bison B.C. - Quiet Earth
Vancouver
Website

Bruce Peninsula - A Mountain Is A Mouth
Toronto
Website

Cœur De Pirate - Cœur De Pirate
Montréal
Website

Leonard Cohen - Live In London
Montréal
Website

D-Sisive - Let The Children Die
Toronto
Website

Elephant Stone - The Seven Seas
Montréal
Website

Elliott BROOD - Mountain Meadows
Toronto
Website

Fucked Up - The Chemistry Of Common Life
Toronto
Website

Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels
Toronto
Website

Handsome Furs - Face Control
Montréal
Website

Tim Hecker - An Imaginary Country
Montréal
Website

Hey Rosetta! - Into Your Lungs
St. John's
Website

Japandroids - Post-Nothing
Vancouver
Website

Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care
Hamilton
Website

K-OS - YES!
Toronto
Website

K'NAAN - Troubadour
Toronto
Website

La patère rose - La patère rose
Montréal
Website

Land Of Talk - Some Are Lakes
Montréal
Website

Lhasa - Lhasa
Montréal
Website

Malajube - Labyrinthes
Montréal
Website

Metric - Fantasies
Toronto
Website

One Hundred Dollars - Forest Of Tears
Toronto
Website

Pink Mountaintops - Outside Love
Vancouver
Website

Joel Plaskett - Three
Halifax
Website

Snailhouse - Lies On The Prize
Montréal
Website

Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project
Toronto
Website

Rae Spoon - superioryouareinferior
Calgary
Website

The Stills - Oceans Will Rise
Montréal
Website

Think About Life - Family
Montréal
Website

Timber Timbre - Timber Tiimbre
Toronto
Website

Chad VanGaalen - Soft Airplane
Calgary
Website

Martha Wainwright - I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too
Montréal
Website

Patrick Watson - Wooden Arms
Montréal
Website

Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
Montréal
Website

Women - Women
Calgary
Website

Woodpigeon - Treasury Library Canada C/W Houndstooth Europa
Calgary
Website