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CHIRP Record Swap at Pitchfork

By Kevin Robinson in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 19, 2008 5:45PM

One of the pleasures of hitting Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, besides seeing a whole bunch of great acts in a single weekend, is being able to dig through crates of records and tables of CDs. And this year is no different, with a small exception.

In years past, the WLUW Record Fair was the featured spot for vinyl enthusiasts and music geeks. This year, however, the side event is brought to you by the Chicago Independent Radio Project, or CHIRP, which is what happened after Loyola decided that it would take its radio license back. CHIRP is now a separate not-for-profit project, and "there is no connection with WLUW or Chicago Public Radio," said Kristen Marks, one of the key volunteers with CHIRP. "The people that are passionate about music, that are passionate about community radio are part of CHIRP," said Nick White, a volunteer. "The record fair is back,' says Marks. This year, there are more labels, and even some new ones. Among the participants is Touch N Go, Sub Pop, Minty Fresh and Johanns Face. The record fair serves as a fund raiser for the radio project, with labels renting tables from CHIRP. Those funds will help put CHIRP on the air in Chicago, which is planning on launching a website next month, and is working on getting a low-power radio license on the north side.

Also present this year is Suicide Squeeze, a Seattle-based indie label. "We're proud of our roots in radio," says Bekah Zietez. "This brings music fans together." Also at Pitchfork is New York label Matador Records. "It's good to be able to talk to our customers," says Sara McManus. "We don't have a storefront, so we don't always get to meet them." If nothing else, make sure you check out Chicago record shop and label Permanent Records, who are located on Chicago Ave. Permanent's stock is made up of a mix of their own records, stuff they've bought from the public, reissues and new releases. Also make sure you don't miss Numero Group, the Detroit-based label that has set up shop here in Little Village. Calling themselves the "SMithsonian of folkways of not just folk", Numero specializes in reissues of obscure and hard to find soul and R&B. Chicago loves the dusties, and Numero has "anything that came out and went away. We find the artists, interview them, and get their music out there," says Sam Davis. Besides obscure classics and danceable vinyl, Numero has many of their CDs and records on sale this weekend.