Godspeed You! Black Emperor have won the 2013 Polaris Music Prize for their album Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! besting the nine other albums on the Polaris Short List.
The band were not in attendance at the awards, though representatives from their label Constellation Records said Godspeed would be using the $30,000 prize money to fund music programs in prisons.
“Godspeed will use the prize money to purchase musical instruments for, and support organizations providing music lessons to, people incarcerated within the Quebec prison system,” said Don Wilkie from Constellation.
The Prize, which goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on “artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation,” was determined by a Grand Jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of over 200 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across the country.
Held at the historic Carlu in downtown Toronto, the evening included performances by eight of the 10 nominees, including Zaki Ibrahim, Metric, METZ, Purity Ring, Colin Stetson, A Tribe Called Red, Whitehorse and Young Galaxy. There were also a number of high profile presenters at the awards like Sarah McLachlan, George Stroumboulopoulos, Michie Mee Joseph Boyden, Sebastien Grainger and Martin Gero.
Keeping it in the family, the gala was hosted by past Polaris nominees Kathleen Edwards and Shad, who messed with a number of iconic award show tropes including promoting Shad’s forthcoming album, pretending they were Tegan And Sara for a pre-taped video message and awkwardly re-enacting the Robin Thicke-Miley Cyrus twerking incident with Edwards as Thicke and Shad as Cyrus.
The 2013 Polaris Music Prize Short List was:
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Zaki Ibrahim – Every Opposite
Metric – Synthetica
METZ – METZ
Purity Ring – Shrines
Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light
Tegan And Sara – Heartthrob
A Tribe Called Red – Nation II Nation
Whitehorse – The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss
Young Galaxy – Ultramarine
The Grand Jury who decided the winner included Alan Cross (Indie 88.1), Kat Dornian (CJSW), Katherine Duncan (CBC), Stuart Henderson (Pop Matters), Jenny Henkelman (CKUW), Ryan McNutt (freelance journalist), Sean Michaels (Said The Gramophone), Ian Steaman (Different Kitchen), James Tennant (CFMU), Phil Villeneuve (Xtra) and Andrea Warner (freelance journalist).
The prize’s past winners have included Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007) and Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett) (2006).