Canadian post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor have won the Polaris Music Prize for their 2012 album ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND! The award is given to the best album of the year by a Canadian artist, and the band won out over other noteworthy Canadian albums this year, including Purity Ring’s Shrines, Metz’s Metz, Metric’s Synthetica, Young Galaxy’s Ultramarine, and several others. For winning, the band will receive $30,000.
Constellation Records‘ Ian Ilavsky accepted the award on the band’s behalf, and said that they will use the cash prize to help fund music education programs and musical instruments in Quebec prisons.
Last year, the award was given to Feist for her 2011 album Metals.
UPDATE: Constellation Records has posted a statement from Godspeed regarding the award. It’s a doozy. Here’s an excerpt:
so yes, we are grateful, and yes we are humble and we are shy to complain when we’ve been acknowledged thusly- BUT HOLY SHIT AND HOLY COW- we’ve been plowing our field on the margins of weird culture for almost 20 years now, and “this scene is pretty cool but what it really fucking needs is an awards show” is not a thought that’s ever crossed our minds.
3 quick bullet-points that almost anybody could agree on maybe=
-holding a gala during a time of austerity and normalized decline is a weird thing to do.
-organizing a gala just so musicians can compete against each other for a novelty-sized cheque doesn’t serve the cause of righteous music at all.
-asking the toyota motor company to help cover the tab for that gala, during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet, IS FUCKING INSANE, and comes across as tone-deaf to the current horrifying malaise.
these are hard times for everybody. and musicians’ blues are pretty low on the list of things in need of urgent correction BUT AND BUT if the point of this prize and party is acknowledging music-labor performed in the name of something other than quick money, well then maybe the next celebration should happen in a cruddier hall, without the corporate banners and culture overlords. and maybe a party thusly is long overdue- it would be truly nice to enjoy that hang, somewhere sometime where the point wasn’t just lazy money patting itself on the back.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.