July 20, 2010

game time

The World Cup is over and the NHL's regular season doesn't get underway until the end of September. For those of us starved of competition and (mostly) apathetic about sports, pop-culture lists and rankings are soothing supplement for the ego. Most of the time these lists don't amount to much; there are no medals or ribbons or bouquets the getting top spot; but every so often, a list emerges where there's actually something at stake. Yes, I'm talking about the Polaris Prize (winner announced September 20) and the Mercury Prize (winner announced September 7) short lists.

It's time, I think, for some speculation.

The Polaris Prize shortlist:
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night
Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
Caribou - Swim
Karkwa - Les Chemins de Verre
Dan Mangan - Nice, Nice, Very Nice
Owen Pallett - Heartland
Radio Radio - Belmundo Regal
The Sadies - Darker Circles
Shad - TSOL
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood

Who am I rooting for here? Well, the only albums I've really concentrated on here are Owen Pallet's Heartland, Caribou's Swim, and a bit of Broken Social Scene's Forgiveness Rock Record. I've liked what I've heard from Karkwa and was moderately pleased with The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night (it's not quite up their with ...Are The Dark Horse). Both Pallet and Caribou's Snaith have already picked up this award, so I'd have to go with Karkwa, or Dan Mangan because of all the Kurt Vonnegut quotes in his liner notes. But I expect this to go to Broken Social Scene and I sort of hope it doesn't.

The Mercury Prize shortlist:
The xx - xx
Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Foals - Total Life Forever
Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
Corinne Bailey Rae - The Sea
I Am Kloot - Sky At Night
Paul Weller - Wake Up The Nation
Dizzee Rascal - Tongue N' Cheek
Kit Downes Trio - Golden
Biffy Clyro - Only Revolutions
Villagers - Becoming A Jackal

Obviously, I'm rooting for Wild Beasts. Two Dancers was my favourite album of 2009 and I think they're the most interesting act on this list. However, it'll be a shocker if The xx fail to take it. I enjoyed their debut as well, but thought it a bit overhyped. I've recently become a fan of the artist least likely to win (Villagers) and had an opportunity to review Becoming a Jackal for Stylus. It's been getting mixed reviews but I think it deserves it's place on the list. I'll be posting my review here in the near future.
I'm sure there'll be more speculation to come. I love sports.

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Finally, to all who've been intrigued by my excessive posting about Menomena's new album, Mines, but for some reason or another have not been able to hear it, you have a limited opportunity to stream the album in its entirity from NPR. No piracy-related guilt - just pure awesome.

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