Surprise surprise, a band we've never heard of have won the Polaris Music Prize, a $20,000 award for the best Canadian album of the year.
Karkwa are a Montreal based indie rock band formed in 1998 and picked up the prize for their fourth full length album 'Les Chemins De Verre'. The fact that they're a francophone group is probably why we're blissfully unaware of them in this part of the world, even though first impressions suggest they are deserving winners. Methinks a trip to Amazon is in order.
Karkwa beat off competition from top Canadian acts like Owen Pallett, Tegan and Sara, Broken Social Scene, Caribou and The Besnard Lakes. The full short list for the prize was as follows:
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'
The Polaris Prize is awarded in a much more democratic manner than the Mercury Prize, or indeed, our own Choice Prize, with nearly 200 Canadian music professionals, including journalists, broadcasters and bloggers taking a vote. Last year's prize was awarded to noise-rockers F**ked Up for their album 'The Chemistry of Life'.