Label Spotlight: Polyvinyl Records
Polyvinyl gives you the good lovin' happy fun times that you so sorely miss, as we become jaded and sucked into the bitter adulthood abyss.
Creating a playlist (or mixtape if you prefer) of my favorite tunes from Polyvinyl Records conjures up vibes of warm summer barbecue and beer filled nights of writing my name with sparklers and playing drunken charades with friends. The playlist I'm creating in my memories includes anything from Mates of State, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Of Montreal, Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!!, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Sean Na Na, The M's, The Like Young or really any single band on the label. Like rediscovering an old cartoon you grew up watching on Saturday mornings, or playing a traditional board game with your family again, Polyvinyl captures those nostalgic feelings of being a carefree youth and packages it up in a neat little compact disc (or vinyl) for your enjoyment.
Polyvinyl kicked off in 1995 with one release, and grew a bit more in 1996 releasing a number of 7"'s and EPs. The Illinois-based label was started by Matt and Darcie Lunsford while they were in high school and it initially began as a vinyl-reviewing fanzine called Polyvinyl Press. As imagined, the first few releases were most notably from friends of the label, Braid who requested assistance in releasing a 7". Not long after the label released music from loyal Polyvinyl band, Rainer Maria.
Throughout the last decade Polyvinyl has sought after hard-working bands who tour often and basically have their shit together (as much as can be expected). They have released popular albums from Mates of State, Joan of Arc, or more recently the extended Elephant-6 family members, Of Montreal. The label puts out a steady stream of eight to twelve (sometimes more, sometimes less) releases a year, which always includes a vinyl release in addition to the CD format. With a few months still to go, Polyvinyl has had a number of notable releases in 2008, from the straight-up New Pornographers inspired power-pop of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's Pershing, to the hyper-pop music on the latest Like It Or Not EP from Australia's Architecture in Helsinki and to the gnarly melodic rock 'n' roll featured on the M's third album Real Close Ones. Polyvinyl has much to brag about, and with even more fodder on the way from Of Montreal as well as re-issues of music from Braid and Rainer Maria.
Being a music director at a college radio station for a number of years, you learn quickly who your favorite labels are, ones that you have come to rely on to provide you with instant gratification, ones that are low-maintenance in terms of promoting. So while the folks at Polyvinyl may not be pushing musical boundaries, they certainly have a knack for releasing music that falls within the previous mentioned category of easily promotable pop music that is a breath of fresh air to an overworked college radio music director. Each release is full of warm, often-keyboard pop driven tunes that are accessible, happy, and above all, fun.
- Nicole Coxe
Click through the artists at the right and download each individual mp3 or stream them all below. Enjoy!
[ play ] Play our 33-song Polyvinyl Records sampler