Spotlight On Sony/PIAS Warehouse Fire: Polyvinyl Records

The Spotlight

This week, we’re highlighting a handful of the many record labels who lost inventory in the Sony/PIAS warehouse that was destroyed by a fire during the recent London riots. Today, we’re taking a look at Polyvinyl Records.

On August 9th, 2011, the third day of rioting across England, a Sony/PIAS warehouse burned in the early hours of the morning. Sony/PIAS is the largest music distributor for the UK and Ireland, servicing over 150 independent labels. The warehouse stocked these labels’ CDs and LPs, in some cases their entire catalogs, and now everything is lost.

One of the premier labels in indie rock, Polyvinyl is home to such artists as Of Montreal, Deerhoof, Casiokids, Architecture in Helsinki, Joan of Arc, Japandroids, Vivian Girls and many others. Started by two friends, Matt Lunsford and Darcie Knight, when they were still in high school, Polyvinyl has always been a champion of talented, up-and-coming bands.  Lunsford and Knight started out by selling records at shows around their hometown of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, often squeezed into a tiny booth at the back of a tightly packed basement.

Today, Lunsford and Knight are married and Polyvinyl has an international distribution.  The artists they sign, however, are still done so through the same organic, D.I.Y. process they had as teenagers – for example, members of Joan of Arc and Owen were also in Cap’n Jazz, a band the Lunsfords had booked for a show ten years prior, and their eventual signing of Ida grew out of a genuine fandom pre-dating the label’s existence.

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One of the more recent signings for Polyvinyl have been the Norwegian synth pop group Casiokids.  Their dance-y bass lines, poppy synth melodies and catchy vocals create the kind of instantly- feel- good songs you need for sunny summer days.  It doesn’t matter that you can’t understand the vocals (they’re in Norwegian), the sentiment is easily appreciated.

Buy music from Casiokids and the other Polyvinyl artists hereSupporting independent artists and labels is one of the most important things a fan and music-lover can do, and now is as important a time as ever to purchase music. The Sony/PIAS warehouse fire affected over 150 labels, many of which lost their entire stock supply. For a complete list of those affected, check this spreadsheet the organizationLabelLove compiled.