The 2010 Polaris Prize long list was released yesterday, and boy is it tasty. Now in it’s fifth year, the Prize seeks out talented Canadian musicians and awards them a hefty monetary award to cover the recording costs of a new album. I’m no juror, but I’ve got a short list of my own.

1. Caribou, Swim.

What do you get when you combine an IQ of 200 and a genuinely breathtaking sense of whimsy? You get Dan Snaith. Part human calculator, part unrestrained musical darling and full blown crazy.

2. Dan Mangan, Nice, Nice, Very Nice

This album name also aptly describes Mangan’s ass. But seriously. He’s got a gorgeous voice, which can be raw and throaty at just the right times.

3.Plants and Animals, La La Land

I’m a believer that having a 1:2 French:English ratio is great for a band. This trio has grown immensely from their debut Parc Avenue, after mastering the Montreal-summer sound and rediscovering distorted riffs and fuzzy pedals. Plus, the album was released on 4/20.


Despite an incredibly successful year, the tragic death of drummer Devon Clifford recently put this Abbotsford rock outfit in a tough place. Creatively, XXXX has some downright catchy beats, the proper amount of ferocity and a full dose of lyrical sophistication. Bravo.

5. Shad, TSOL

Shad’s come a long way. Witty, well-spoken and thoughtful beyond his years, this hip-hop artist has some serious talent that is finally showing up on the national radar. Respect.