Hit duo Tegan and Sara, aboriginal DJ collective A Tribe Called Red and indie rock darlings Metric, are among this year's finalists vying for the Polaris Music Prize, the $30,000 music honour celebrating the year's best Canadian album.
Organizers unveiled a short list today for the contemporary music prize, which considers releases from the past 12 months based on musical merit and not sales or genre.
The 10 finalists are:
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Montreal), Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
- Zaki Ibrahim (Cape Town; born in Nanaimo, B.C.), Every Opposite.
- Metric (Toronto), Synthetica.
- METZ (Toronto), METZ.
- Purity Ring (Edmonton), Shrines.
- Colin Stetson (Montreal), New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light.
- Tegan and Sara (Calgary), Heartthrob.
- A Tribe Called Red (Ottawa), Nation II Nation.
- Whitehorse (Toronto), The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss.
- Young Galaxy (Vancouver), Ultramarine.
The names were revealed by singer Kathleen Edwards and rapper Shad. Both two-time Polaris contenders, the two celebrated musicians were tapped as this year's hosts.
"It's incredible... I'm humbled, I'm honoured, I'm ecstatic," first-time nominee Zaki Ibrahim told CBC News.
"It's the kind of nomination that reminds me I'm doing something right, people are listening and I got the job done with my very first record."
Young Galaxy had been previously longlisted, but the recognition for the group's fourth studio album marks a breakthrough.
"I was surprisingly moved by being shortlisted. I feel to some degree we've been toiling away in obscurity and have been happy that way, just for the love of what we're doing and keeping it real," said lead singer Catherine McCandless.
Though this year's competition is impressive, she added that she doesn't see the contenders as rivals.
"I don't see it as 'up against' them. It's more like we're all in this very nice position now. It's nice to be singled out in a group of so many from that long list."
The 2013 winner will receive $30,000, while organizers will also present $2,000 to each of the nine remaining finalists.
Established to celebrate creativity and diversity in Canadian music — without regard to musical genre or sales history — the Polaris Prize has previously been awarded to artists like Feist, Arcade Fire, Karkwa, Patrick Watson, Caribou and Final Fantasy. The nominees and winner are chosen by a jury of music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers from across Canada.
The winner will be announced at a gala at Toronto's Carlu event hall on Sept. 23.