American Football is the debut studio album by American rock band American Football. After the break-up of The One Up Downstairs, drummer Steve Lamos started jamming with guitarist Steve Holmes. With the addition of vocalist/guitarist Mike Kinsella, the trio formed American Football. In October 1998 they released a self-titled EP through Polyvinyl. With Brendan Gamble taking producer duties, the group recorded a self-titled album at Private Studios in Urbana, Illinois. The album's sound is a throwback to early Joan of Arc, a band which Kinsella previously played drums in. American Football focused on the interaction between two guitars after listening to Steve Reich. A few of the songs were unfinished by the time the band got to the studio and decided to finish them there.
The album was released on September 28, 1999 through Polyvinyl. The artwork, photographed by Chris Strong, was of a house located within walking distance of the University of Illinois. The album received minor success at college radio stations, however the band broke up soon after due to the members no longer living in the same city. Kinsella started Owen after he wanted complete creative control, and Holmes & Lamos played in The Geese. Since its release, the album has acquired cult status. A deluxe edition was released by Polyvinyl in May 2014 – the demand for which crashed the label's website. The reissue charted at number 68 on the Billboard 200 chart. A month later, a music video was released for the song "Never Meant", directed by Strong. The band have since played shows across the U.S. and the UK.
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