American Football‘s self-titled debut album is one of the best and most influential emo albums of all time, so we’re thrilled to have teamed up with the band on a new, exclusive “ultra clear with green, white & black splatter” vinyl, limited to just 500 copies. It’s the 2LP deluxe edition with bonus tracks (tracklist below). The only place to get this variant is in our stores, so order yours now while they last.
In 2019, we looked back on American Football for its 20th anniversary. An excerpt of our retrospective review:
It is, in many circles, the holy grail of emo. It wasn’t very successful at all when it was released, and American Football broke up shortly afterwards. But it went on to inspire hundreds of copycat bands to put their guitars in weird tunings and sing slightly out of key about their feelings over a melodic math rock backdrop, birthing an entire subgenre in the process. Its status as a cult classic only grew over time, until the love for it became so widespread that American Football finally reunited. Without the ’99 debut, there would be no second (2016) or third (2019) album for us to even debate about. It’s one of the most important, influential emo albums of all time.
[…] American Football have gotten much better since writing an accidental classic in their early 20s. They’re twice that age now, and though the band was inactive for 14 years, frontman Mike Kinsella never stopped making music. He quickly went solo under the moniker Owen (and also played as a member of a handful of other bands), and by Owen’s 2002 sophomore album No Good For No One Now, Mike really learned how to properly use his singing voice and how to write songs with an even greater emotional impact than he did on the first American Football album. When he finally reunited with guitarist Steve Holmes and drummer Steve Lamos (and roped in his cousin Nate Kinsella on bass), he was able to apply the skills he developed with Owen to the American Football formula — first on the rust-polishing LP2 and then on the career-best LP3 — so it’s no surprise that American Football are even better at what they do now. They have sharper tools, more experience, and the means to incorporate things like high-profile guest vocalists, string arrangements, and a children’s choir — of course they sound better. But it’s understandable why so many fans feel that the charm of their debut will never be replicated. They made that album without any of this stuff, no expectations, and not much of a fanbase. Some classic albums are written with the goal of being considered a classic — like Loveless or Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness — but American Football was written by a relatively small band in a relatively small scene where classics weren’t made. Emo hadn’t hit on a mainstream level yet — that would start to happen about a year or two after American Football broke up — and these bands often didn’t think it was even realistic to aspire to much more than playing shows with your friends’ bands in VFW halls. So it was even more special that this humble band could write this groundbreaking album without even fully realizing how much ground they were breaking. Now, American Football’s importance is well documented, but if you had a copy of American Football in, like, 2004, you felt like you were in on some kind of major secret. And then, by about 2008 or 2009, when lots of American Football-inspired bands started emerging, you realized just how many other people felt like they were in on that same secret.
1. Never Meant
2. The Summer Ends
4. For Sure
5. You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon
6. But The Regrets Are Killing Me
7. I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional
8. Stay Home
9. The One With The Wurlitzer
10. Intro [Live at the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL, 1997]
11. Five Silent Miles [Live at the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL, 1997]
12. Untitled #1 (The One With the Trumpet) [Boombox Practice Session, 1998]
13. Untitled #2 [Boombox Practice Session, 1998]
14. Stay Home [Boombox Practice Session, 1998]
15. Untitled #3 [Boombox Practice Session, 1999]
16. Never Meant [4-Track Album Prep, 1999]
17. But the Regrets Are Killing Me [4-Track Album Prep, 1999]
18. I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional [4-Track Album Prep, 1999]
19. The 7’s [Live at the Blind Pig, Champaign, IL, 1997]