Arcade Fire, Feist and Julie Doiron will compete with seven other finalists for the second annual Polaris Music Prize, which honours the year's best full-length Canadian album.
This year's list for the $20,000 prize includes "amazing pieces of work," former music industry insider Steve Jordan, who created the award to highlight the country's diverse music scene, said Tuesday after the list was released.
The finalists are:
Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
The Besnard Lakes, The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse
The Dears, Gang of Losers
Julie Doiron, Woke Myself Up
Feist, The Reminder
Junior Boys, So This Is Goodbye
Miracle Fortress, Five Roses
Joel Plaskett Emergency, Ashtray Rock
Chad VanGaalen, Skelliconnection
Patrick Watson, Close to Paradise
Half of the artists on the list are from Montreal: Arcade Fire, The Besnard Lakes, The Dears, Miracle Fortress and Patrick Watson. The rest are spread out across the country: Feist is based in Toronto, the Junior Boys are from Hamilton, Chad VanGaalen is from Calgary, Joel Plaskett hails from Halifax and Julie Doiron grew up in Moncton, N.B.
Jordan said the prize, which will be announced at a gala in Toronto on Sept. 24, helps artists sell their work.
"We've definitely helped sell some records, which, quite honestly, we didn't think we would the first year," Jordan told Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio's Q. "We have hard evidence of that happening with almost all our nominees and definitely with our winner from last year."
Jordan said he got an e-mail last fall from last year's winner, Final Fantasy's He Poos Clouds, a one-person project featuring songwriter and violinist Owen Pallett.
Pallett was touring, Jordan said, and "every interview he was doing in Europe, they were bringing up Polaris."
Finalists were drawn from submissions by more than 120 music journalists, reviewers and broadcasters across Canada.
All forms of contemporary music such as pop, rock, hip hop, electronic, jazz, classical, country and blues are eligible.
The prize was inspired by the U.K.'s famed Mercury Prize.
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