Illinois Record Label Includes Sweet Surprise When Shipping Orders

Word of a repressing of “Downward Is Heavenward” flowed across nearly every post in the Hum Starposting Facebook group late last year.

The Facebook group dedicated to 90s alt-rockers Hum tends to light up with any news coming from the Champaign-based act.

A month later, the group’s feed was flooded with photos from fans who had received their copy of “Downward Is Heavenward” from Polyvinyl Records.

But the blue-hued leafy cover of the 1998 release wasn’t the only featured item in their pics. Those who ordered through Polyvinyl also showed off their Airheads.

Polyvinyl, also based in Champaign, includes a piece of the tangy taffy with every online order.

Rob Carroll photo

Polyvinyl Records History

According the their website, the Polyvinyl brand started as a fanzine founded by Matt Lunsford and Darcie Knight in 1994. The Polyvinyl Press covered the underground music scene in the Midwest.

Polyvinyl Records was launched in 1996 as the zine came to an end. The record label is synonymous with such artists as American Football, of Montreal and Pedro The Lion.

While “Downward Is Heavenward” isn’t an official Polyvinyl release, Hum is one of the many artists who utilize the label as a means of distribution.

Why Does Polyvinyl Send Airheads?

If you opened your box of records from Polyvinyl and were surprised by taffy, you’re not alone. Thankfully, a postcard explaining the bonus Airheads is also included with each shipment.

“In 1996, when Polyvinyl co-founder Darcie Lunsford launched our mail order department, she knew she wanted to add extras in our customers’ orders- thank you notes, stickers, posters, and, of course, candy,” the postcard explains.

Rob Carroll photo

Airheads wasn’t necessarily the first choice to be included with shipments from Polyvinyl Records. According to the card, a few other types of candy were given a test run before settling on taffy.

“Turns out they have it all: Flat and slide into packages easily, don’t melt in the mail, and are wonderfully tasty and vegan!”

Polyvinyl Records celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021. The label has released albums for more than 100 different artists since its inception.

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