Polaris 2011

Get To Know Your Short List

With only about 10 weeks to go until the Polaris Music Prize Gala, I figure it’s about time we get introduced to the short listers. After all, you’ll need a little education to keep up with your scarf and skinnys-wearing music snob friends.  Thus, I’ll be profiling one band a week until the big night. Enjoy!

Braids- Native Speaker

Most of us are lucky to graduate high school with passing grades and a few close friends. Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Katie Lee, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith formed a band that not only outlasted the “Turkey Dump” but went on to collect praise from Pitchfork, Spin and Rolling Stone.

Initially formed in 2006 to support Raphaelle in a songwriting contest held by the Calgary Folk Music Festival, the kids went on to record their debut EP, Set Pieces, under the name The Neighbourhood Council. Upon reaching university age, they moved to Montreal in 2008 to attend McGill and changed their name to Braids.

No stranger to the Canadian music scene, Braids is a staple of Calgary’s Sled Island Music Festival.  They played NXNE in June, will head to Montreal next weekend for Osheaga, the Regina Folk Festival in August and Vancouver in September for the Olio Festival.

Released in January 2011 after a lengthy production, Braids’ seven-track debut album, Native Speaker, is likened to early Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire. It’s an ethereal mix of strings and the occasional steel drum, pierced by Raphaelle’s earthy, wailing vocals.  This isn’t the type of album that blows you away on the first listen.  It washes over you, seemingly unabsorbed. But there’s something about its dreaminess and the imperfect edge of Raphaelle’s voice that nestles in the darkness of your mind. And suddenly, you just need to hear it again.

Check it out for yourself here


About J2

What happens when you're a wordsy music aficionado who works for NXNE, CMW, HPX, Olio Music Festival, The JUNOs and Polaris Music Prize? You spend all of your free time blogging about it... Follow on Twitter if you're so inclined: @HearPlugged

Posted on July 25, 2011, in Sound Bites and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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