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Canada’s Polaris announces Short List, America continues to ignore its fringes

Canada’s Polaris announces Short List, America continues to ignore its fringes (photo)

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Yesterday afternoon, Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham and CBC DJ Grant Lawrence announced the 10 albums that comprise the Short List for this year’s Polaris Music Prize, the Canadian award that honors the country’s best annual album without regard for sales or popularity. Past winners include, of course, Fucked Up, Caribou and Final Fantasy’s extravagant He Poos Clouds. This is a big year for Polaris, as the sum the winning artist takes home has increased from $20,000 to $30,000 in spite of recent Canadian arts funding woes.

Any such list is bound to generate its share of complaints about omissions and inclusions, but at least as an American onlooker, it’s enough to generate a fair share of envy, too. There is no relevant stateside equivalent to Polaris, where Colin Stetson‘s outbound saxophone excursions (I mean, this dude is bringing circular breathing toward the mainstream, something I never thought I’d type) and Braids’ sexually charged rhythmic explorations share shoulder space with Grammy winners The Arcade Fire and the fair adult-contemporary bard Ron Sexsmith. That’s not to mention Austra’s paradoxically chirpy and gothic charms or Dan Bejar’s wild-eyed, carefully worded sprees as Destroyer. The Arcade Fire‘s Grammy victory in February was enough to make a meme of public consternation, a movement that made it painfully clear that there’s no widespread coronation for artists working just below the mainstream and below the U.S.-Canadian border. The best we might hope for, after all, is a Bon Iver, Bon Iver Grammy nod. Hey, at least that record features Stetson.

Do you think America needs its own Polaris-like prize? Why, or why not?

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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