Polaris Prize

Roger Kisby via Getty Images

Viet Cong Is Dumb Art, Not an Argument for Taboos

The problem with this particular group of guys isn't that they invoked the Vietnam War at all, it's that they did it for a really shitty reason. To suggest that any subject matter be restricted to any artist is a low-key expression of censorship and should be resisted. Politically sensitive, controversial imagery needs to be available; to declare it off-limits infantilizes the role of music and art, and our expectations from it.

Want to Win an Award? Become a Canadian Musician

How do you procure distinctions if you only have a modicum of talent? Join the Canadian music biz. I honestly can't tell you the exact number of distinct music award ceremonies there are in Canada because I lost count at 33. I've watched almost every person I know snag one. It's almost like when each kid gets a prize at a children's birthday party.
Polaris Music Prize

Godspeed, Polaris and the Art of Saying No

And so now we have an even bigger story. Godspeed "slams" Polaris! My social media, full of music biz people, is awash with arguments about whether or not the band's position is respectable or bullshit. Many call them hypocrites, dicks, fake anarchists, for accepting a prize if they don't agree with what it represents. Some people seem very angry about the whole thing. I am not.
Polaris Music Prize

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Godspeed!

Unfortunately, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's rant about Polaris' corporate hypocrisy (given its claim to be about recognizing "artistic merit") undercut the coolest thing about their win. Their Constellation records label boss (who does have Godspeed's dreaded "gov't. culture-money in his pockets") accepted on their behalf and said they'd be using their $30,000 winnings to fund musical instruments and musical education for Quebec prisons.

Polaris Prize Announces 2011 Shortlist

Had Arcade Fire's runaway hit album, 'The Suburbs,' failed to make the Short List for Canada's celebrated Polaris Prize, both critics and fans would have been up in arms. Luckily, there was no Vancouv...