Arcade Fire, Neil Young top Canada’s Polaris Prize nominee list

The initial long list of nominees for Canada’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize have been announced, and the list is predictably eclectic. Indie superstars Arcade Fire and legendary iconoclast Neil Young top the list that includes veteran acts such as Ron Sexsmith, Stars and Sloan as well as newcomers like Dirty Beaches and Diamond Rings.

From the long list of forty, ten finalists are selected to compete for the top prize. That short list will be announced July 6.

The award (including $30,000 cold, hard cash) was initated in 2006 and is given to the top Canadian artist as voted by a jury composed of 227 Canadian music writers.

Arcade Fire recently played Tennessee’s Bonnaroo music fest for the first time. Neil Young also appeared at that festival, with the reunited Buffalo Springfield. Read an exclusive interview with him here.

The Polaris Award was won by Montreal rock band Karkwa in 2010. The previous year, the honor was picked up by Toronto-based experimental punk unit F*cked Up.

The 2011 Polaris Music Prize Long List:

1. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
2. Austra, Feel it Break
3. Braids, Native Speaker
4. Black Mountain, Wilderness Heart
5. Buck 65, 20 Odd Years
6. Louise Burns, Mellow Drama
7. D-Sisive, Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye
8. The Dears, Degeneration Street
9. Destroyer, Kaputt
10. Diamond Rings, Special Affections

11. Dirty Beaches, Badlands
12. Luke Doucet and The White Falcon, Steel City Trawler
13. Eternia & MoSS – At Last
14. Galaxie, Tigre et Diesel
15. Jenn Grant, Honeymoon Punch
16. Tim Hecker, Ravedeath, 1972
17. Hey Rosetta, Seeds
18. Hooded Fang, Album
19. Imaginary Cities, Temporary Resident
20. Land of Talk, Cloak and Cipher

21. Little Scream, The Golden Record
22. The Luyas, Too Beautiful to Work
23. Malajube, La Caverne
24. Miracle Fortress, Was I the Wave?
25. One Hundred Dollars, Songs of Man
26. Doug Paisley, Constant Companion
27. PS I Love You, Meet Me At Muster Station
28. Daniel Romano, Sleep Beneath the Willow
29. The Rural Alberta Advantage, Departing
30. Ron Sexsmith, Long Player Late Bloomer

31. Shotgun Jimmie, Transistor Sister
32. Sloan, The Double Cross
33. Frederick Squire, March 12
34. Stars, The Five Ghosts
35. Colin Stetson, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
36. Timber Timbre, Creep On Creepin’ On
37. The Weeknd, House of Balloons
38. Women, Public Strain
39. Neil Young, Le Noise
40. Young Galaxy, Shapeshifting

Who would you vote for from this list?