Critically acclaimed hardcore punk band F--ked Up has taken the fourth annual Polaris Music Prize, the honour given to the best Canadian album of the past year.
The Toronto ensemble, recognized for their full-length album The Chemistry of Common Life, picked up the $20,000 award at the Polaris concert and awards show Monday night in their hometown.
"That is insane," shocked singer Damian Abraham remarked as he took the stage at Toronto's Masonic Temple to accept the award.
"We got here today and we got frisked on our way in, and every time we went back, we got frisked again.… So I was like: 'Aww, this is going to suck, being frisked so much and not coming away with anything. But then I got a free iPod, and I was like: 'Yeah!' But this is better than an iPod!"
Inspired by honours like the U.K.'s prestigious Mercury Prize, the Polaris is judged by a panel of music journalists and industry representatives based on musical merit, rather than other awards based on sales.
F--ked Up may have won praise from music critics from Spin Magazine, Pitchfork and the New York Times, but this acclaim has not necessarily translated to recognition at home, Abraham said backstage after the more than three hour-long gala, which featured performances from all 10 finalists and was attended by past winners Final Fantasy, Patrick Watson and Caribou.
"This, to me, is like the best moment, because for the longest time I really felt like we were outside the Canadian music scene," he said. "Well, if we're outside, we stole the biggest prize."
Other shortlisted acts this year included Halifax singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett, Toronto hip hop artist K'Naan, Calgary's Chad VanGaalen, St. John's rock band Hey Rosetta and Montreal indie group Malajube.
Abraham added that F--ked Up will use the cash prize to fund a holiday charity effort to raise awareness about missing aboriginal women.
"There were over 500 missing aboriginal women in Canada and we're going to put out a benefit record to try to draw attention to it and raise some money for these people," Abraham said.
"It's a marginalized group, it's a racialized crime, it's ignored. So we're putting out a benefit Christmas record with some really funny guests and we're gonna pay for it."[GALLERY id=2580 cat=arts]