Announcing the 2014 Borealis Music Prize Longlist

Behold, the albums longlisted for our first annual prize-packed music award

2014 longlist

The winner of this award will receive $1,000 from The Overcast + a slot in the 2015 Halifax Pop Explosion + a performance at the Closing Party  of the Eastlink East Coast Music Week 2015 + more!

The quality, diversity, and amount of music coming out of Newfoundland every year is so voluminous that many worthy albums won’t make a longlist, and not even because they didn’t deserve to. Many hours and much frustration go into creating a longlist and in the end, the albums on the longlist are just as much lucky as they are good, because almost any album on the longlist below could be swapped out for the latest albums by Pet Vet, Heather Nolan, Family Video, Neil Conway, Jigger, Last Soul Down, and Brianna Gosse. Not to mention heavy hitters in the local scene like The Once, Baytown, and Ian Foster, or undersung folks like Evan J.M. Smith and Three Trees. To be eligible, an album had to have been released between Oct.1 2013 and September 30, 2014. Likewise, albums needed to be 6 songs or 30 minutes long, so, great EPs from acts like Delusion Victims, Port of Call, Bridges, Gala, Waterfront Fire, and Make Mean Everything were disqualified for being too short and sweet.

The shortlist will be announced in our November print issue, which will be on stands October 29th. (If you live outside St. John’s, our print issues are now available, by article, in the sidebar of our website: click the issue’s cover image). We will announce the winner on the cover of the December print issue. But two nights before, on November 29th, the winning band will open for The Wooden Sky at The Rockhouse. We won’t know who won until they take the stage.


Sample track, “Johnny” | FacebookBandcamp


Sample track, “Night Rainbows” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp


Sample track, “Seeds of Joy” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp


Sample track, “Something Familiar” | Bandcamp


Sample track, “Against the Tide” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp


Sample track, “Huckey Pump” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

boat 5

Sample Track, “Patron Saints” | Bandcamp


Sample track, “Fair Ellen (Ft. Meg Warren)” | Twitter / Website

beer d-5

Sample track, “Harbourside Waterslide” | Facebook / Bandcamp

all kinds

Sample track, “When the Heart Resigns” | Facebook / Twitter / Website


Sample track, “The Flats” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp


Sample track, “Make a Friend” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

proise d-5

Sample track, “Lillies” | Bandcamp


Sample track, “Don’t Listen to My Mama” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp


Sample track, “Cool Kids” | Bandcamp


Sample Track, “Rattling on” | Bandcamp


Sample track, “Dumb Piece of Meat” | Facebook / Bandcamp


Sample track, “Circle Comes Undone” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp / Website


Sample track, “The Right Idea”| Facebook / Twitter / Website

vir ed-5

Sample track, “It Was Never Enough” | Facebook / Bandcamp


Sample track, “Lay Down and Dry” | Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp / Website

The following jury will now take this longlist down to a shortlist of 5 albums

Lukas Wall (The Overcast), Rajiv Thavanathan (The Overcast), Tom Power (CBC), Jamie Fitzpatrick (CBC), Zach Goudie (CBC), Alyson Samson (CBC), Angela Antle (CBC), Tony Ploughman (Fred’s Records), Tara Bradbury (The Telegram), Wendy Rose (The Herald), Tom Cochrane (The Corner Brooker), Bryan Power (Lawnya Vawnya), Andrea Vincent (Lawnya Vawnya), Krista Power (Mighty Pop), Mark Bragg (Musician), Katie Baggs (Musician), Craig Collins (avid show goer), Samm Joy (avid show goer), Jen Winsor (MusicNL), Bonnie Fedrau (MusicNL), Lorne Loder (Harbourage Music Festival), Mike Heffernan (Author of the forthcoming book Scumtribe: Ten Years that Changed Newfoundland Music, 1985-95), and the folks at Full Time Productions.

Grand jury of the shortlist will be: Emily Smart (Six Shooter Records), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Operators), Vish Khanna (Exclaim Magazine), Stuart Henderson (Exclaim Magazine),Matt Charelton (Pigeon Row).

The Borealis Music Prize recognizes uncommon talent, potential, or striking originality in any genre of music, with an aim to give the winning act some career-enhancing exposure. Borealis is a contraction of Aurora Borealis, a fitting term for an album that manages to shine brightly enough to stand out among the 150+ albums recorded each year in Newfoundland.

More from TheOvercast


  • Grim 31 -Do you already have contractor for the deck? This is on my future wish list in order to get my mother better stair access to the back of the house via the driveway (she do2e&n#8s17;t walk very well). Would also not like to look like a redneck with the patio chairs and BBQ on the grass.

  • It would be great/only right/fair to see more women represented on the list next year. It’s SO INCREDIBLY disappointing to see the shortlist comprised of all male bands…

    • I couldn’t agree more, and glad you said so. Ilia Nicoll came in 6th by having 4 jurors pick her album as a 1st pick, 3 of them males just as dumbfounded as I am by the all-male shortlist. It’s a juried award, so the shortlist is out of our hands.

  • where is either “family video” record? both were arguably more complex and valuable pieces of art then many of the records listed.

    • I personally couldn’t agree more (I being Chad). Family Video are a personal favourite in the city, and a type of music I’m happy we can say we have a representative of!

  • I would suggest that you allow the original large jury to bring 5 of their choice to the table. The fact that the publisher of the sponsoring organization had a hand in deciding what recordings were up for consideration doesn’t look good. What’s the point of having such a varied and experienced jury if you are going to limit them? The pool is probably closer to 200 albums produced a year. Only letting 50 into the competition is unfortunate.

    • It’s a good point, but, I know for a fact you can’t expect 20 volunteer jurors to actually sit and listen to 200 albums. it just doesn’t happen. It’s important that jurors actually give what they’re adjudicating a good listen. If presented with 200 options, people tend to just pick 5 they know they like, versus exploring a manageable set of albums they’ve been given, and being surprised by stuff they didn’t already know. Not saying “The Borealis Approach’ is better than what you’re proposing, just saying that thought went into it, and, that there’s flaws with either approach. Knowing people like to tear up well-meaning endeavours like this, we consulted with similar award administrators on the best of multiple flawed options, and settled on this approach. it’s about making things manageable, I suppose, and it’s not like there’s even such thing as “the best album of the year.” While what you propose might have made a different longlist, ultimately, the shortlist likely would have yielded the same 5 albums with either approach, based on the juror votes rolling in here

  • Congratulations to all the bands on the longlist, after 21 years of going to shows I’m always surprised by the number of bands on the scene who I haven’t even heard of. Looking forward to checking out more from these acts – great picks.

  • no judges for any of this should be affiliated with, related to, or paid for any work production in the past should be allowed on any jury you have put together. unfortunately this is the case here. my suggestion? random people throughout the province not familiar with any of these acts. old and young. Not these familiar local names that are involved in the clique.

  • sounds like a weekend at the Ship for both judges and bands. start connecting the dots folks! what an interweaving of indie beard fellowship this appears to be.

    • None of the grand jury judges will be from Newfoundland, or will have ever even heard the shortlisted bands, so, you’re comment is unfounded. Unless you’re just being a jerk — in which case fill your boots — I’d be interested in what you think is wrong with the list, or the way the award is being administered though. Are there bands you think should have been included? Is there a better way to admin this award? or are you just trolling because you’re that kind of person? shoot me an email if it’s the former:

  • So besides the guidelines presented how did some albums not get on the longlist? did the same group of judges choose the longlist?

    • Hey Chris, that was explained in a previous post, though maybe should have been here, too. The editor of the overcast engaged the editors at 2 similar publications with what he thought were the top 50 albums from here, and the longlist was the result of that discourse. One of those two people wanted to be anonymous, for a decent reason, so there’s not much to saw about the pre-jury jury.

  • There are some great albums on this list (and some that I will have to check out). Congratulations to all artists. The Don Browrigg album though – AWESOME! I think it is the best Canadian album released in 2013 (not just best Newfoundland and Labrador album). I was fortunate to be able to write a review of the album about a year ago –

  • As an avid show goer I wonder where my invitation to join the illustrious jury is? Maybe it got sent to the Herald… Or to Ballistic… or to the dude that wrote a book on taxi cab drivers by mistake.

    Also what about Dope Pieces latest drop? Should definitely be getting some recognition here.

    • A lot of thought went into the jury, which could not include everyone in town, but instead a random sampling, you know, like virtually every jury in the world. The people involved might not be you, but if the tables were turned, and you were on the jury, not them, they certainly wouldn’t be leaving comments like this, hence being the kind of people asked. Lighten up. And just because Dope Pieces isn’t on here doesn’t mean it’s not a good album, read the opening paragraph. And the three people you singled out write about local arts (as opposed to nasty web comments) or run music festivals, so they help round out the jury. Not sure why you’re knocking them. There are better hobbies than trolling, and I’m sorry to see you’ve nothing better to do. Perhaps this will help:

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