Tag Archive: Jeremy Fisher


It’s been a few days since the Polaris Long List was announced, and I’ve had a chance to let it all sink in. I’ve been asked by a few friends to give an opinion on the Long List, so I thought I’d weigh in here too.

First, let’s take a look at geography. Here’s how the Long List breaks down:

  • Vancouver – 4
  • Rest of the West (Calgary and Winnipeg) – 3
  • Toronto – 14
  • Rest of Ontario – 3
  • Montreal – 11
  • Eastern Provinces – 4
  • International – 1

Nothing should surprise you about this, it’s pretty typical of past Polaris Long Lists. Maybe the International inclusion comes as a surprise, but that’s Neil Young. Exceptions can be made for Neil Young. Perhaps it’s because I’m so close to the Victoria and Vancouver music scenes that I’m personally disappointed in the low turnout from BC. I’m also disappointed that coming off the heels of Karkwa’s win in 2010, only one album on the entire Long List this year is in French.

Geography and language aside, what about the music? I hate to admit it, but aside from maybe The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, there’s no one album on the Long List that really grabbed me. When I look back on this past year, my musical obsessions (the Hold Steady – not Canadian, Japandroids – didn’t release an album in the eligibility period, Explosions In The Sky – not Canadian, Versa – who’s that?) all were not going to make it anywhere near being nominated. Oh there are lots of albums on the Long List that I love and they all deserve to be there, but I didn’t listen to any of them over and over ad nauseum like I did with some of the nominees in 2010. This makes picking my front runners for the Short List really, really difficult.

CBC Radio 3 is once again holding its Polaris Prize Pool, where listeners are asked to name the 10 albums they think will make the Polaris Short List. The entry with the most correct picks from the actual Polaris Short List wins a CBC Radio 3 prize pack. The winner will be announced on July 6th (the day of the Short List announcement), but unfortunately for you it’s now too late to enter. I managed to get in an entry just under the wire; here’s the list I submitted. It’s based largely on what I personally like on the Long List, mixed with picks that have been popular with friends, and albums that have received buzz.

  • Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  • Braids – Native Speaker
  • Buck 65 – 20 Odd Years
  • The Dears – Degeneration Street
  • Destroyer – Kaputt
  • Diamond Rings – Special Affections
  • Hey Rosetta! – Seeds
  • Hooded Fang – Album
  • Malajube – La Caverne
  • PS I Love You – Meet Me At The Muster Station

This took me forever to put together. I changed it at least 40 times over the couple hours it took me to finalize. I think I’m content with the list though: I managed to include picks from the West, the East, Toronto, and Montreal; I included big names like Arcade Fire and Hey Rosetta! and lesser known names like Braids and Hooded Fang; there’s even a decent representation of genres there with straight up rock, pop rock, 80s inspired dance, and hip hop. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual Short List doesn’t resemble this at all. (With the exception of Arcade Fire that is – I will be absolutely shocked if they are left off the Short List.)

Hopefully my thoughts on the Long List didn’t sound too negative, that was not my intention. To counteract that, let me list some other Long List artists whose releases I really enjoyed:  Women, Shotgun Jimmie, the Rural Alberta Advantage, Black Mountain, Timber Timbre, Stars, Land Of Talk, Luke Doucet and the White Falcon, Imaginary Cities, Sloan, and Young Galaxy. I highly recommend checking out all these albums. (Full disclosure: the albums I didn’t list here are the ones I haven’t listened to yet. I doubt there’s anything on the Long List I’d totally detest.)

There were so many other amazing albums that didn’t make the cut for the 2011 Polaris Long List. Here’s some great albums that didn’t make it:

  • Tokyo Police Club – Champ
  • Mohawk Lodge – Crimes
  • Wolf Parade – Expo 86
  • Treelines – Summer Song EP (This technically wouldn’t have qualified. Why didn’t you boys add two more songs to that release?!)
  • Royal Canoe – Co-Op Mode
  • The Mountains and the Trees – I Made This For You (Long List miss #4 – I was rooting for you Jon!)
  • Kathryn Calder – Are You My Mother?
  • Gonzales – Ivory Tower
  • Chromeo – Business Casual
  • The Meligrove Band – Shimmering Lights
  • Suuns – Zeroes QC
  • Jason Collett – Pony Tricks
  • Hot Panda – How Come I’m Dead?
  • The Gertrudes – Dawn Time Riot
  • Jim Bryson and the Weakerthans – The Falcon Lake Incident (Long List miss #1. This by far is the biggest omission from the Long List. You were robbed Jim!)
  • Jeremy Fisher – Flood (Long List miss #7.)
  • David Vertesi – Cardiography (Long List miss #2.)
  • Henry and the Nightcrawlers – 100 Blows (Long List miss #5.)
  • The Liptonians – Let’s All March Back to the Sea (Long List miss #3.)
  • Memphis – Here Comes A City
  • Mother Mother – Eureka (Long List miss #6. I’m surprised more people aren’t up in arms about this one not making the cut.)
  • Slow Down, Molasses – Walk Into The Sea
  • We Are The City – High School (Another EP that’s technically not qualified, but it’s still great!)
  • Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island

So what are your picks for the Short List? Any albums from the past year I didn’t mention and should check out? Feel free to post your comments below!

And for more Polaris speculation fun, be sure to check out NxEW’s Shadow Polaris.

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Well I guess it’s better late than never to get this up:

Though most of this week has been spent doing my listening homework for the Vancouver Folk Fest, I somehow managed to cram in a few shows last weekend. First up was the CD release party for Versa at the beautiful Alix Goolden Hall. Showing a bit of bad etiquette on my part, I ended up missing the first two openers and arrived just in time to catch a set by Les Monstres Terribles.

Les Monstres Terribles

In full disclosure, I’m friends with one of the members (heck I went to his wedding even) and I’ve had a drink or two with a few of the other members in the group. Don’t let my positive bias toward this band dissuade you though, back in March Les Monstres Terribles were voted the Most Welcome Addition to the Arts Scene at this year’s Monday Magazine M Awards.

The band pulled out all the stops for their first show at the Alix Goolden Hall. While the group normally consists of five core members, this set was backed by the Playing Dead Orchestra which consisted of a keyboardist, a brass section, a string section, and even a choir. The entire group of 15 or so musicians were decked out in black and white duds with white masks. Though the outfits were borderline gimmicky, the group looked pretty sharp all together.

Versa

After a quick intermission Versa took the stage. The whole evening was to celebrate the release of their sophomore album The Decline and Fall of…, which was included for free in the modest $10 admission. In all honesty I hadn’t heard of them prior to last week, but when I got a message from the fine folks at Ditch Records saying they had tickets to give away I entered my name into the draw on a whim. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I was one of the lucky winners, and more so when I discovered that Versa plays some pretty awesome music to boot. Without the slightest bit of exaggeration, I’m really tempted to say that they are one of my great musical finds this year. Though the dark lighting in the hall didn’t bode well for my photos, it set the perfect mood for the largely instrumental set that Versa unleashed on us. One highlight of the show for me was the encore performance of LCD Soundsystem’s hit All My Friends. The band invited all the other musicians on the bill as well as any audience members so inclined to join them on stage. The result was an amazing stage party of controlled chaos.

You can next see Les Monstres Terribles at the Solstice Cafe on Tuesday August 3rd (event details). Keep your eyes peeled for new shows from Versa to be announced soon. The full collection of photos from the evening can be found can be found on the EhBSeasides Flickr page here.

Right after the Versa CD release party I ran over to Sugar Nightclub to catch the Victoria stop of the Malahat Revue, which combined the musical forces of Jeremy Fisher, Said the Whale, Hannah Georgas, and Aidan Knight. As what happens all too often at Sugar, the crowd that night was extremely rowdy. For some reason Said the Whale really brings out the drunk talkative types in Victoria. The girl behind me decided to scream to her friends throughout every single Hannah Georgas song. To the group’s credit they kept the set full of upbeat tunes that kept the crowd under control by jumping and singing along.

the Malahat Revue

On Sunday night I made the trip to Duncan to catch the Malahat Revue stop at the Duncan Garage Showroom. The vibe in Duncan was the total opposite of Victoria. The sold out crowd was so appreciative for the visit from the group. The night was broken up into two sets that rotated through songs from the catalogs of the four groups. When the second set wrapped up with Aidan Knight’s Jasper, the crowd leaped to their feet to dance and sing. The musicians were enthusiastically called back for an encore of a few more songs. The whole evening wrapped up with an unplugged unamplified rendition of Said the Whale’s Curse of the Currents. Even though I’ve seen Said the Whale a few times now, this was the first time I have heard Curse of the Currents live. It was perfect. I know that I wasn’t the only one in the audience with tears in my eyes by the end of that song.

The Duncan Garage Showroom provides a live video stream for all of their shows, so even if you are not planning a trip to Duncan any time soon you should definitely check out their webpage. While you do so, you can find the link for the archived stream of the Malahat Revue here.

There was a photography ban at the Victoria stop of the Malahat Revue, but you can check out the Flickr set from the Duncan show here.

The Malahat Revue

For close to the next two weeks BC-based artists Jeremy Fisher, Said the Whale, Hannah Georgas, and Aidan Knight will be joining forces in quite the unique tour. Using only one van as a support vehicle, these musicians are jumping on their bikes, gear in tow, and pedaling their way through Vancouver, Saltspring Island, Pender Island, and Vancouver Island. While a tour by bike may be a bit out of the ordinary to some, Jeremy Fisher is no stranger to the concept. In 2001 he pedaled his way from Seattle to Halifax in support of his debut album. Dubbed “One Less Tourbus”, his travels covered more than 7500 km and took more than six months. When you look at it that way, this 500+ km trek is nothing more than a leisurely ride through the park!

In true Revue form, all the groups will be performing together as one band and playing selections from each other’s catalogs. The whole shebang kicked off yesterday with a surprise show outside the CBC building in downtown Vancouver. From there the bike caravan heads through Pender Island and Saltspring Island, to Victoria, and then winds its way up Vancouver Island. The whole thing comes full circle next Saturday when the musicians return to Vancouver to play the closing day of the Vancouver Folk Festival.

So if you’re in the area in the next few days, keep your eyes peeled for the cycling group of musicians, and if you’re heading to any of the shows, consider digging out the ol’ bike! Expect to see me at the Victoria, Duncan, and Vancouver (Folk Fest) shows.

Tour dates:

  • Wednesday July 7th: Vancouver BC @ the CBC Building
  • Thursday July 8th: Saltspring Island @ Artspring
  • Friday July 9th: Pender Island @ Pender Island Community Hall
  • Saturday July 10th: Victoria @ Organics Festival
  • Saturday July 10th: Victoria @ Sugar Nightclub
  • Sunday July 11th: Duncan @ Duncan Garage Showroom
  • Wednesday July 14th: Roberts Creek @ Roberts Creek Hall
  • Friday July 16th: Nanaimo @ Nanaimo Entertainment Centre
  • Sunday July 18th: Vancouver @ Vancouver Folk Fest