Polyvinyl Record Co.

Polyvinyl Record Co. is an American independent record label headquartered in Champaign, Illinois. The label also has satellite offices in New York, Austin, and the Bay Area. Polyvinyl has put out over 400 releases to date.

Polyvinyl Record Co.
Founded1995 (1995)
FounderMatt Lunsford
Darcie Knight Lunsford
Distributor(s)ADA (Digital)
AMPED (Physical)
GenreIndie rock, indie pop, alternative rock
Country of originU.S.
LocationChampaign-Urbana, Illinois
Official websitewww.polyvinylrecords.com

The Polyvinyl roster currently consists of 30+ active artists, including Alvvays, Xiu Xiu, Jeff Rosenstock, Kero Kero Bonito, and Julia Jacklin as well as longtime label signees like of Montreal, American Football, STRFKR, and Rainer Maria. Recent additions to the Polyvinyl family include Jeff Rosenstock, Laura Jane Grace, Anamanaguchi, IAN SWEET, Oceanator, Chris Farren, Squirrel Flower, and Yumi Zouma.



In 1994, high school students Matt Lunsford and Darcie Knight from Danville, Illinois founded Polyvinyl Press, a fanzine created to celebrate the Midwestern D.I.Y. scene. As part of Polyvinyl Press’ third issue in July 1995, Lunsford and Knight released a split 7” featuring Back of Dave and Walker. With the fifth and final issue of Polyvinyl Press in May 1996, Lunsford and Knight put out an accompanying 20-track compilation, Direction, chronicling the current state of mid-‘90s Midwestern D.I.Y and marking the official transition of the fanzine to Polyvinyl Record Co.[1] Lunsford and Knight established a 50/50 profit sharing model for the label.

Early releases, like the debut album from the Direction-featured band Rainer Maria, Past Worn Searching, and Braid’s 1998 album Frame and Canvas, set a national eye on Polyvinyl. The following year, Polyvinyl released American Football’s self-titled debut. This record has grown to be one of the best-selling releases on the label and established a working relationship with Mike Kinsella, who would later go on to release albums as Owen, Joan of Arc, and Their / They're / There on Polyvinyl.


In 2001, Knight and Lunsford moved the label from Danville, IL to Urbana-Champaign, IL to give Polyvinyl a better infrastructure to grow. Such growth led to the Polyvinyl 2003 Winter Tour, which commenced right after the January release of Rainer Maria’s Long Knives Drawn. Rainer Maria and Mates of State went out on the road with fellow labelmates Owen and Saturday Looks Good to Me.[2] Later that year, Polyvinyl released the video of Rainer Maria’s Winter Tour set at Chapel Hill’s Cat’s Cradle and Mates of State’s third record, Team Boo.

In 2004, Polyvinyl began to be distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance and added Athens’ of Montreal to the label family. of Montreal released their first album with Polyvinyl, Satanic Panic in the Attic, the same year.

Polyvinyl celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006 with a concert featuring Headlights, of Montreal, Owen, and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin in Urbana, IL. The following year, Polyvinyl released Architecture in Helsinki’s Places Like This and of Montreal’s critically acclaimed Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, the best-selling album in Polyvinyl history.[3]

Polyvinyl closed out the decade in 2009 with the release of Japandroids’ debut full-length, Post-Nothing.


Polyvinyl’s 2011 15th anniversary bash expanded on its previous anniversary show with a nine-band bill including Asobi Seksu, Braid, Deerhoof, Japandroids, Joan of Arc, Owen, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, STRFKR, and Xiu Xiu. Polyvinyl moved into their 16th year with the release of Japandroids’ Celebration Rock.

In 2014, Polyvinyl released another best-seller, Alvvaysself-titled debut, and leading up to the label’s 20th anniversary, Polyvinyl expanded to a bigger location in Champaign in Spring 2015.[4] After the label’s move, Beach Slang released their debut full-length that autumn.

In 2016, the label celebrated its 20th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, Polyvinyl released a compilation titled Polyvinyl Plays Polyvinyl, on which twenty Polyvinyl artists covered songs by their labelmates.[5] With the help of Girl Skateboards and artist Jesse LeDoux, Polyvinyl also created a skateboard deck as a symbol of skate culture’s influence on Matt Lunsford’s musical discovery and the label’s early identity development.[6]

2017 brought the release of sophomore records from White Reaper and Alvvays, The World's Best American Band and Antisocialites, respectively, as well as Jay Som’s first proper record for Polyvinyl, Everybody Works. All three albums closed out the year with spots on several year-end publication lists, including Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, and Paste.

At the start of 2018, Polyvinyl committed to donate 10% of mailorder revenue one Friday per month to deserving causes, especially organizations that strive to make progress in music communities. Donation recipients have included the Tegan and Sara Foundation,[7] OurMusicMyBody, and Girls Rock! Champaign-Urbana.

In February 2018, Polyvinyl announced a partnership with Brooklyn-based independent label Double Double Whammy. Double Double Whammy, which started in 2011 as a project to release the founders’ project, LVL UP, has a catalog that includes Mitski, Frankie Cosmos, Yowler, Ó, Hatchie, and Florist, among others. Through this partnership, Polyvinyl provides distribution, accounting, webstore fulfillment, and other shared services, while Double Double Whammy maintains creative autonomy.[8]

Current rosterEdit

Full rosterEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Steinbacher, John. "Polyvinyl's 15 Years - The Midwest is the best". Smile Politely. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  2. ^ Hart, Gerry (16 December 2002). "Points of Impact". No. 793. CMJ. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  3. ^ Hammershaug, Bjørn. "Label Focus: Polyvinyl". Tidal. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  4. ^ Rehayem, Maddie. "Locally sourced, organically grown: Polyvinyl Records". Smile Politely. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  5. ^ DeVille, Chris. "Stream The Polyvinyl Plays Polyvinyl Comp". Stereogum. Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  6. ^ Morgan, Adam. "Interview: Matt Lunsford of Polyvinyl Records". Surviving The Golden Age. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  7. ^ "PV Pledges: Tegan and Sara Foundation". With Guitars. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Double Double Whammy joins distribution efforts with Polyvinyl. Announces SXSW showcase". Come Here Floyd. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Anamanaguchi Signs with Polyvinyl and Announces New Album [USA] for October 2019 Release". Retrieved March 8, 2021 – via music.mxdwn.com.

External linksEdit