With the weather getting warmer, that means two things: summer is back to remind us existence is great when there isn’t an ice storm and the Polaris Prize nominations will be here soon. The Canadian music prize, which was founded back in 2006, is held in high regard; one that, with the help of jurors basing their nominations on artistic merit and not sales from an exhaustive list, determines which Canadian record is the best that year. Past winners include Lido Pimienta, Tanya Tagaq, Kaytranada, Feist, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
In the lead up to the long-list and then eventually the short-list reveals, there is the Polaris Prize Cover Sessions. These cover sessions began back in 2014 with the intent for past Polaris nominees to cover Canadian musicians and tracks. It, first of all, taps into the agonizingly pleasurable notion of nostalgia; bringing back the words and music of the—sometimes not so distant—past. But it also allows for creative exploration; for a band to put their own stamp on a beloved tune, giving it an unexpected jolt or new life.
Weaves, nominated last year for their impressive self-titled debut, covered Arcade Fire’s “Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)” from their excellent, legendary debut Funeral. The original—with Win and Regine Butler’s clashing vocals against the often chaotic instruments—sounds more urgent, fraught, almost, on the verge of yelling in anguish. Weaves, with their more self-proclaimed eclecticism, update the track by making it jittery, emphasizing that by way of the guitars, and personable, especially with Jasmyn Burke’s singing as though it’s one person relaying the story instead of the original with a cacophony of voices to anchor the narrative. The song still has an urgency but Burke’s vocals temper it.
“I guess I immediately gravitated towards wanting to cover one of their songs because I grew up listening to them—seeing them for the first time just opened the gates as far as live music,” Burke said of the song to Noisey. She continued, saying of the track, “I think ‘Neighbourhood # 3 (Power Out)’ seems more pertinent than ever, so in Weaves fashion we spent a weekend working on it, and then just went into the studio and recorded it pretty freely. I think this song keeps breathing and growing over time and I guess that’s the magic of revisiting ones favourite albums.” Listen to the audio below:
Upcoming tour dates below:
05/08 Lethbridge, AB, Geomatic Attic
05/12 Sudbury, ON, Grace Hall
05/15 Quebec City, QC, L'Anti
05/16 Fredericton, NB, Capital Complex
05/17 Halifax, NS, Seahorse Tavern
05/18 Sackville, NB, Thunder & Lightning
06/03 Pinconning, MI, Riverscene Music Festival
06/08 Brooklyn, NY, Northside @ Knitting
06/27 Toronto, ON, TD Jazz Fest @ The Phoenix
07/20 Yellowknife, NWT, Folk on the Rocks Festival
09/07 Elizabethtown, NY, Otis Mountain Get Down