Bragg Borealis d-1

When, Where, and Why!

This Friday night at The Ship is the big announcement: come and see who has survived all three rounds of really, really tough jurying. We will be crowning the winner of the 2014 Borealis Music Prize at The Ship at 11:15 pm sharp.

After the drumrolls, confetti bangs, and cheque presentation, the winner will play a quick set, and then Mark Bragg will perform for the rest of the night — a perfect party soundtrack, live in the flesh.  So come and dance your pants off to Mark, and see which album close to 40 jurors chose as the best of the year.

There’ll also be free copies of Big Townie Tunes Vol.1 on hand: a 20-track album featuring 1 song by each shortlisted band.

Every day this week, we’ll say something on each of the 5 shortlisted bands, and, hear a random fact on a Mark Bragg song.

Why Fog Lake Made the Shortlist



Serve on enough juries – or administer your own award – and a few patterns emerge. One is that, no matter how you try to level the judging fields, there will always be some favouritism towards the more popular bands in town. And fair enough, in many cases, they’re popular for a reason.

The simplest road to popularity in this town is to play a pile of shows – it keeps your name forever on the mind of the showgoing public and media. This is precisely what makes it doubly impressive that Fog Lake’s Virgo Indigo made it onto the shortlist. Fog Lake is Aaron Powell, and the sound has more of a lazy Sunday on the couch feel than a barshow band, and so he just doesn’t play often, at all.

This means it’s the merit of his music alone that has the town talking, and, all three juries for this award impressed (there have been 3 separate juries for this award: longlist curators, then a jury to make a shortlist of the longlist, then a jury to pick a winner from the shortlist).

Even grand juror Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Operators) — a man who has likely heard or played it all, and who is known for relatively rowdier songs than Fog Lake’s — couldn’t help but rave about this “really great, evocative stuff.”

Innovation is the sign of a natural born songwriter – are they creating something you haven’t quite heard before? Could anyone with a guitar and a mic have recorded these songs? In that regard, there wasn’t an album on the longlist as strikingly original as Fog Lake’s brooding album, Virgo Indigo. Ambient and pounding with atmosphere, these quiet, subdued, lo-fi recordings are haunting and, as Dan said, evocative.

As another juror said, “I can’t even listen to that Fog Lake record because it makes me feel too many feelings.”

Mark Bragg on His Song, “Roll Baby Roll”

Every day this week, leading up to the show, Mark Bragg will share a random fact on one of his songs. Today’s is “Roll Baby Roll.” Pay attention to the lyrics, and you might understand where the daughter is coming from 😉

“My daughter used to get mad at me when she heard this song, but she’s cool with it now. What a difference a year can make.”