I meant to write this ages ago when the Longlist voting-period ended. Instead, I procrastinated and now the deadline for both the Longlist and the Shortlist voting have come and gone and now the official Shortlist has been announced this morning.
If you're unfamiliar with how it works, each juror votes for their personal Top Five and through some 'secret-sauce' style aggregating / tallying, the Longlist of 40 albums is created. From that list of 40, the jurors then vote for another top five (if they're lucky, some of their initial selections) out of the eligible pool.
My first round of balloting was as follows:
1. **Various - Native North America, Vol. 1 [Light In The Attic]
2. Allison Au Quartet - The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey [Independent]
3. Conduct - Fear and Desire [Public Tone Records]
4. **The Acorn - Vieux Loup [Paper Bag Records]
5. Zaum - Oracles [Independent]
I put together my own Longlist throughout the year based on my own listening and recommendations from other jurors and the other albums under consideration were (listed alphabetically):
**BBNG & Ghostface Killah - Sour Soul [Lex Records]
**Bahamas - Bahamas Is Afie [Brushfire]
Bent By Elephants - The Shore [Sunset Hill Music]
**Braids - Deep In The Iris [Flemish Eye]
Etiquette - Reminisce [Hand Drawn Dracula]
**Pierre Kwenders - Le dernier empereur bantou [Bonsound]
Lee Reed - The Butcher, The Banker, The Bitumen Tanker [Independent]
**Elizabeth Shepherd - The Signal [Linus]
Shimmering Stars - Bedrooms of the Nation [Shitty Bike Records]
Spek Won - Sofa King Amazing [Independent]
**The Weather Station - Loyalty [Outside]
**White Lung - Deep Fantasy [Domino]
[** means the selection made the Longlist]
I was able to keep the Native North America complilation in the top spot and moved Vieux Loup up to #2 which left me three votes from among the seven albums that were on both my initial Longlist and the official Polaris one.
Ultimately, I voted for the following on the Shortlist ballot:
1. Various - Native North America, Vol. 1 [Light In The Attic]
2. The Acorn - Vieux Loup [Paper Bag Records]
3. The Weather Station - Loyalty [Outside]
4. Bahamas - Bahamas Is Afie [Brushfire]
5. Pierre Kwenders - Le dernier empereur bantou [Bonsound]
So after "going two-for-five" on the first ballot, I went "oh-for-five" on the second one. I'm certainly happy to see Deep In The Iris and Sour Soul make the cut as both were strong considerations for me. I really enjoyed the Viet Cong record, but with the controversy surrounding the band name, I couldn't bring myself to vote for it. Ultimately, I think the official Shortlist is fine, but it leaves me feeling flat (maybe getting none of my selections on there has something to do with it). I'm definitely throwing my support behind Braids, for what it's worth.