Godspeed You! Black Emperor have won the 2013 Polaris Prize in Canada for their album ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’.
The album is the post-rock band’s first release in 10 years and beat off strong competition from the likes of Metric – pictured above – and Metz to win the award, the Canadian equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize. Pitchfork reports that Ian Ilavsky from Constellation Records accepted the award on the band’s behalf and said the band will use their $30,000 prize money to fund music education and musical instruments in Quebec prisons.
Issuing a statement via their record label CST Records website, Godspeed You! Black Emporer have distanced themselves from the ceremony, saying they feel “orphaned” in Canada and complaining that an expensive prize giving is unnecessary in times of financial austerity. “‘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,” write the band.
The statement continues: “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.”
Tegan and Sara and Purity Ring were also on the shortlist. Previous winners of the award include Arcade Fire, Feist, Fucked Up and Caribou.
Speaking about the shortlist, when it was announced earlier this year, the prize’s founder and executive director Steve Jordan said: “This moody and exciting list is proof that the ‘Canadian sound’ has no stylistic boundaries. In equal measure we welcome the seven rookies and three repeat nominees to this year’s shortlist.”