Polyvinyl Records actually began as Polyvinyl Press, the fanzine project founded in 1994 by Matt Lunsford and Darcie Knight. Reporting on the local Champaign-Urbana scene in Illinois, the two quickly got to know bands in the area, and by 1995, they’d released a seven-inch with the July issue of their fanzine — Polyvinyl Records was born.
Over the next decade and a half, the label thrived because of Lunsford and Knight’s dedication to the local scene, and their fair treatment of the artists on the Polyvinyl roster. They first found major success when one of their original signees, Braid, released the seminal Frame and Canvas. They found consistent success after from the label’s stacked roster of boundary-pushing acts, among them of Montreal, Deerhoof, Architecture in Helsinki, Xiu Xiu, Japandroids, and Joan of Arc.