The Overcast’s Borealis Music Prize is the province’s richest music award. It aims to find the best local album of the year, across all genres, with the intention of bringing local music out of late night bars, and onto the radars of The Overcast’s readership of 70,000 people.
A jury created this longlist, and another new one will create the shortlist, however last week, we allowed the public to vote and guarantee one “people’s choice” pick a place on the longlist: congrats to Rum Ragged on that!
Jurors are encouraged to favour originality, authenticity, and musical integrity. Things like popularity, quality of recording, and technical ability are of course factored in, but more than anything, the question is, “Would anyone else have made this album?” And well, “Would you leave this album in your car for a month and still love it?”
When it comes to the 2016 Borealis longlist, Ain’t nobody got blues like these. The bluesrock record was five years in the making and sounds like it
Some couples do everything together. Take Chris Meyers & Kate Lahey, whose quiet, acoustic album is a blow to the heart. Simplicity shouldn’t sound this good – these two made some magic here
If the sophomore effort is about growth, than boat Haus stand tall as giants on their new album. It’s high-energy, highly original rock in the vein of Wavves x Cloud Nothings.
Probably the most fun album on here, and their original sound, musical craftsmanship, and the plain fun in the songs, makes Branch Ricky an unfamiliar breath of fresh musical air
Dame Nature showcases all of Newfoundland’s most talented up-and-comers in the one band – they’re the New Pornographers of Newfoundland, and this supergroup dropped a super album.
Like Wilco? Yeah? Their 90’s albums, when they shone the best as pioneers of altcountry? Then you’ll love this album too
For years, there’s been no live show in town as intense, performative, high-energy, and intoxicating as a theatrical, loud, and in-yourface Derm Kean show. And now the musically rich madness is finally captured on an album.
Probably the best album to date by probably the best guitarist in Atlantic Canada.
Four of Newfoundland’s finest guitarists – Duane Andrews, Sandy Morris, Craig Young, and Gordon Quinton – blend their talents and different styles on an album that dazzles.
The new album from city favourites Green & Gold did two things: it displayed clear growth and experimentation, while also providing some of the best local songs of the year.
Pop-leaning punk more endearing than it is angry. They call it jangle-pop, we call it deadly. A breakout album of the year.
There is an untouchably distinct and otherworldy feeling to Ilia’s music and talents. A killer voice, poignant lyrics, and a musical style all her own: Ilia has the trifecta, and she has it in spades.
An acoustic album with the anthemic power of a full-on rock album, Roads is defined by a rowdy and always emotionally packed sound that pulls on something primitive in its listener.
Hamel’s brand of modern indiepop gold would stand up to much of what you’d hear CBC 3 pushing on you. It’s fun, inventive, playful, catchy, distinct, and properly produced.
In an era of rushed EPs, one of the city’s most prolific and original songwriters released a double album displaying more breadth of musical territories than most musicians tread in a lifetime.
Every year, one RPM album takes the city by storm, and this was this year’s crowd favourite. It’s successfully fresh and new, and accessibly experimental.
A couple of the city’s most talented musicians combine many eras of music and much talent on this very original rock record.
On Fault Lines, frontwoman Heather Nolan crafted 10 tunes that explore every nook and cranny of modern rock, and carved out her own new sound in the genre. Her voice will melt your bones, and her band shines with an innovative approach to their instruments.
Good Grief conjures the distinct sounds of interesting contemporaries like Hello Blue Roses or Joanna Newsom. Laura is an innovator, armed with nice uke licks and a nice voice she fully utilizes to build her songs.
The boys are back in town. And in fine, fine form. The album brings more of what made them big shots a decade ago, while successfully exploring some new territory as well.
Another musical couple, and another great electro-pop album. Better still, it’s pop with substance and atmosphere, and the album takes the genre on a tour: Radiation Fog is a strong cross-section of modern pop sounds
What you get when one of the city’s most suave and sophisticated songwriters records with some of the city’s finest musicians is, naturally, one of the best local releases in quite some time, let alone the year
Don’t like Hip Hop, hey? What if some of the city’s heaviest musicians – like Devon Milley and Ashton Whitt – collaborated to explore the genre? This album was way up at the top of the crop for RPM 2016.
This indie pop gold struck gold in 2016, with mad success in national airplay and accolades. Fresh off cleaning up at the MusicNL awards, they seem like the ones to beat for Borealis 2016.
What’s a local longlist without a trad band on there, right? In just 2 years, Rum Ragged has become the next generation’s hottest offering of good ol local trad done right.