One of the most rewarding parts of my career progression has been getting involved in cool things. Last year I became an official Polaris Music Prize juror AND got to sit on the 11-person grand jury - the yearly rotating grand decision-making board. In my first year! (Here’s more on what that was like).
Since Grand Jury is basically a one-time gig, I’ve been relishing the process of voting on the long list and, soon, the short list of the best Canadian full-length albums of the past year. Yesterday the top 40 long list was announced. Was hard to whittle it down for the weighted five-ballot vote - you’ve got to be strategic in some sense - but I’m 5/5! Here’s who I voted for:
A Tribe Called Red - s/t
No secret I LOVE THESE GUYS. N8V dudes making ill club music is CANADA as fuck. They are also the nicest and super-smart and making political club music, so YOU ALREADY KNOW!
Yamantaka//Sonic Titan - YT//ST
I also think YT//ST is Canada as fuck: a troupe of diasporic, multi-racial, queer performance artists making confrontational, melodic, indigenous-inflected, black metal-inspired noise.
Azari & III - s/t
Toronto-based foursome making really good, culture-shifting, Madonna-baiting, future gay, funky house music. Rushed a Japanese DJ when he dropped “Manic” during an opening set before Picture Plane at a Tokyo club.
Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces
As someone who grew up on urban radio I’m hardwired to be averse to music that’s largely, at least superficially, predicated on acoustic guitar and vocals, but Sandro Perri is a) the man, b) flips the folk trope with these crazily personality-filled melodic lines and writing weird, dithering, stretched out pop compositions like this:
Drake - Take Care
A DUH DUH. Best Canadian pop record of the year, HANDS DOWN.