Cameron Carpenter: Past and Present Tens – Buggles The Mind


The Prism Prize is the annual award given to Canada’s best music video. There is a jury of about 150 industry folks across the country and throughout the year we are sent batches of videos to watch, and, at the pre-determined deadline, we submit our top five. It is always an interesting exercise as I get to see a lot of videos I would probably never see.

prism prize logo

When MuchMusic was a video channel, and when I worked for a major label, the TV in my office would be on all day and I would see what the other artists were up to. Nowadays I never watch videos unless a band is interested in management or submitting a video for a film festival, I am not the type to go to YouTube to discover new music. Give me a great song first and then I will decide if I want to see a visual.

Kyle and CamThis year I am joined on the Prism jury with my son Kyle (who is a copy writer for an ad agency). I am pretty sure we are the only father-son combo judging. With close to a couple of hundred videos to watch we were comparing notes whenever we got together. Obviously he saw things that moved him that did not move me and vice versa. When the first round of judging is complete Louis Calabro (Prism Prize founder) usually announces the top ten finalists, and then, we vote on this ten videos to come up with the ultimate winner. This year, because of the quality and international success of many of these clips, a top 20 was announced, and, on March 22nd the top 10 will be unveiled. The grand prize will be announced at the Tiff Bell Lightbox on Sunday May 15th.

You can watch all 20 videos at

In what may be a fluke, or a sign of things to come in the Top 10, all five of my picks have made the first cut. I am not going to say who I picked but all five are included in this group of ten finalists. Also included in this group of ten are four of the five finalists for the 2016 Juno Video of the Year (their 5th nomination was for Adele’s “Hello” which was directed by Xavier Dolan – for the Prism the artist and the director must both be Canadian.  Many of these twn are NSFW.

  1. Kalle Mattson – Avalanche

This video was all over my news feeds on social media when it was first released. Kalle re-creates the covers of 34 famous albums. Juno nominated.  Here is the whole list of covers he nails:

1 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
2 Neil Young – Harvest
3 Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate
4 Radiohead – In Rainbows
5 Pink Floyd – The Wall
6 Sex Pistols – Nevermind The Bollocks
7 The Velvet Underground & Nico
8 The Ramones
9 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds -The Boatman’s Call
10 Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model
11 Jay Z – Blueprint
12 Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson
13 George Harrison – All Thing Must Pass
14 Paul McCartney – McCartney II
15 Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica
16 Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
17 Paul Simon – Paul Simon
18 Beck – Sea Change
19 Elliot Smith – Figure 8
20 Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
21 The Clash – London Calling
22 Backstreet Boys – Millennium
23 Ringo Starr – Beaucoups of Blues
24 Patti Smith – Horses
25 Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
26 Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
27 Tom Petty – Damn The Torpedoes
28 Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days
29 Michael Jackson – Thriller
30 The Smiths – This Charming Man
31 Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
32 Morrissey, The Best of
33 U2 – The Best
34 David Bowie – Aladdin Sane
35 Kalle Mattson – Avalanche

  1. Monogrenade – Le fantome

Being a French language Montreal indie band, I know very little about this band, except for the fact they are responsible for stunning videos. I am glad this one made the list

  1. Peaches – Rub

Well this one isn’t safe for work. Trust Peaches to push it to the limits (again). Merrill Nisker was fearless back in 1995 when she released “Fancypants Hoodlum” and over twenty years later she is still fearless.

  1. Pup – Dark Days

It seems every year there are more and more animated videos. It probably has something to do with technology and simpler, cost-effective programs. This one animates the band’s tour and was also a Juno nomination. Love the song.

  1. The Elwins – So Down Low

Back in 2013 I showed the Elwins video “Forgetful Assistance” as part of the NXNE Film Festival.  The band just knows how to make an enjoyable video.

  1. Death From Above 1979 – Virgins

I am so happy they are back together again. One of my favourite Canadian artist of the last decade or so. It should be a really fun tour across Canada this year with The Eagles of Death Metal. Juno nominated.

  1. Fast Romantics – Julia

Another great Canadian band who keep getting better with every release. Nice to see that the band’s front person Matthew Angus also directed this nostalgic gem.

  1. SonREAL – For The Town

This one looks cliché and obvious until about the one-minute mark when things take a real turn. Stick with it. Very clever. Also up for a Juno.

  1. Yukon Blonde – Saturday Night

The Blondes had a couple of videos on the long list this year both of which showed the band`s quirky sense of humour.

  1. Harrison – How Can It Be

Such a simple concept but so watchable. I don`t know anything about the artist but this video makes me want to learn more.

Here is the complete list of the Top 20…..

A Tribe Called Red – Suplex (Director: Jon Riera)

Absolutely Free – Vision’s (Directors: Scott Cudmore and Michael LeBlanc)

Aidan Knight – All Clear (Director: Ft. Langley)

Alessia Cara – Here (Director: Aaron A)

Braids – Miniskirt (Director: Kevan Funk)

Daniel Romano – I’m Gonna Teach You (Director: Chad VanGaalen)

Death From Above 1979 – Virgins (Director: Eva Michon)

Drake – Hotline Bling (Director: Director X)

The Elwins – So Down Low (Director: Alan Poon)

Fast Romantics – Julia (Director: Matthew Angus)

Grimes – Flesh Without Blood (Director: Grimes)

Harrison – How Can It Be (Director: Maxime Lamontagne)

Kalle Mattson – Avalanche (Director: Philip Sportel)

Monogrenade – Le Fantôme (Director: Kristof Brandl)

Peaches – Rub (Directors: Peaches, A.L. Steiner and Lex Vaughn)

PUP – Dark Days (Director: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux and Chandler Levack)

Shy Kids – Rockets (Director: Walter Woodman)

SonReal – For the Town (Director: Peter Huang)

Spek Won – Black Body (Director: Mark Valino)

Yukon Blonde – Saturday Night (Directors: Mac Boucher and Gaya Abdalian)

You can see them ALL at

Tonight at Lou Dawgs we have an amazing young guitarist Nubs along with Chuck Coles (Organ Thieves) and Cale Crow. I am there every Thursday of you want to come by and talk shop. At the corner of Church and Gerrard Street East.

Nubs – Get Down With the Boogie


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59, Instagram @Cambo1959 and Spotify @Cambo59

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7Cameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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