Published Mar 05, 2010On Wednesday (March 3), the 2010 Juno Award nominations were announced. As always, it was a pretty miserable representation of Canada's music scene that made our talent pool look shallow and stagnant. There was hope, however, in the usually reliable Alternative Album of the Year category. Among the nominees were Julie Doiron, Tegan and Sara, Handsome Furs and, perhaps surprisingly, Vancouver garage pop duo Japandroids.
Knowing they'd have two cents to spend on their nomination, Exclaim! called up Japandroids vocalist/guitarist Brian King to see if a Juno nod is an honour or curse.
"It's strange, because I look at our category with Handsome Furs and Julie Doiron, and then I looked back at the category in the past and it's all bands that I either like or can acknowledge are at least good," King says. "It feels like we're in the right category, but if you examine the rest of the awards, I guess you have to take it with a grain of salt because the same people who think your album is good enough to nominate you also think a lot of albums I think are basically cancers on the musical landscape are also really good."
So true, so true. The Junos have a pretty dreadful track record that in the past has often favoured million-selling commercial acts like Celine Dion and Nickelback over any sort of emerging, critically acclaimed artist.
King specifically calls out the international category as a particular sore spot on the list. "Best International Album, I mean, look at that list - Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears - do people really think those are the best non-Canadian albums?" he asks with an irritated tone. "I understand you need some big names to draw viewership, but c'mon! I was begging for Coldplay, where's my Coldplay? Where's my U2? I would at least take those bands. It's the same old shit. Any time Nickelback puts out something they get nominated for a Juno."
King added that what he and his band-mate Dave Prowse felt hearing about the Juno nomination was nothing compared to making the Polaris Music Prize long list. "I'll say that I wasn't blown away as I was when we were nominated for the Polaris," he admits. "That was big time. That was, 'Holy shit! How is this possible?' The Juno was a bit more like, 'Okay...'"
Japandroids are gearing up for another tour that will start with eight shows (and counting) at next week's South By Southwest festival. They will then make their way back up to Canada for shows in Montreal (April 2) and Toronto (April 3) before another extended jaunt down south that ultimately arrives in their home city of Vancouver on April 30.
All of this touring begs the question: would they have been able to attend the Junos even if they wanted to?
"We found out about that [three] days ago and had our tour booked long ago," King explains. "Geographically, it's as far from St. John's as you can be and still be in North America. I think we're in L.A. [on April 18], so it would involve going from L.A. all the way to St. John's for one night and then all the way back the next day in time to play our show in Phoenix, which I think is impossible. We tried on paper to see if we could make it work because there is Factor money, so it's a free trip if we wanted to go. But I don't think we can make it happen. Dave and I are both committed to touring and playing our shows. We decided that cancelling a show to go to the Junos was not reasonable, especially Phoenix, where we've never played before."
3/17-21 Austin, TX - SXSW
3/24 Oxford, MS - Proud Larrys*
3/25 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree*
3/26 Nashville, TN - The End*
3/27 Charlotte, NC - Snug Harbor*
3/29 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel**
3/30 Philadelphia, PA - The Barbary**
3/31 Boston, MA - Middle East Downstairs**
4/1 New York City, NY - Bowery Ballroom^^
4/2 Montreal, QC - Il Motore**
4/3 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern**
4/5 Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig^
4/6 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop***
4/7 Champaign, IL - High Dive**
4/8 Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio***
4/9 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall***
4/10 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry***
4/12 Columbia, MO - Mojo's***
4/13 Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck***
4/15 Las Vegas, NV - Beauty Bar***
4/19 Phoenix, AZ - Trunk Space***
4/21 San Diego, CA - Casbah***
4/22 Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex^^^
4/23 San Francisco, CA - Independent***
4/24 Salem, OR - Willamette University***
4/30 Vancouver, BC - Lifetime Collective
6/10-13 Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Festival
* with A Sunny Day In Glasgow
** with Love Is All
*** with Avi Buffalo
^ with Bear In Heaven
^^ with Best Coast
^^^ with Nobunny