American Football
American Football
Sep 14, 1999

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American Football's first album showcases cleanly picked guitars, intricate drumming, and the vocals of Mike Kinsella (Owen, Joan of Arc). The band, made up of Kinsella, Steve Holmes and Steve Lamos rooted itself in Champaign and recorded this album at Private Studios with Brendan Gamble (Braid).

Despite little touring and with only an EP behind them, these nine songs highlight the trio's uncanny songwriting abilities. The album's photos and layout mark the first Polyvinyl design done by Chris Strong.

After receiving hundreds of requests, Polyvinyl finally pressed the American Football album on vinyl in 2004.


  • 1
    Never Meant (4:28)
  • 2
    The Summer Ends (4:46)
  • 3
    Honestly? (6:10)
  • 4
    For Sure (3:16)
  • 5
    You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon (3:43)
  • 6
    But the Regrets Are Killing Me (3:54)
  • 7
    I'll See You When We're Both Not So Emotional (3:42)
  • 8
    Stay Home (8:10)
  • 9
    The One With The Wurlitzer (2:43)


"...the most influential album in the genre."


"This is the story of American Football... the story of how three kids going to school in Champaign-Urbana accidentally managed to create a major piece of music that has stood the test of time, regardless of how minor the whole period was to them.”


"One of the most devastating breakup albums in the history of breakup albums."

Rolling Stone, 40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time

"We're only now beginning to recognize how American Football struck an emotional chord, one that’s proven to be every bit as resonant."

Pitchfork, Best New Reissue

“As the leading forefathers of Midwest emo, American Football guided the genre with twinkly, math-rock riffs and melancholy lyrics that any suburban teenager can relate to. Needless to say, American Football is a quintessential record among the scene, achieving cult status years after with its iconic appeal.”

Alt Press

"The best moments of American Football occur when the band’s relatability and their development of the genre become obvious.”

Consequence of Sound

“Holmes and Kinsella’s guitar playing is the most emotive the genre has been privy to, inverting the typical power trio dynamic and rendering Kinsella’s minimal lyrics as a platform for elaboration rather than the final word.”



  • Never Meant (4:43)
    Chris Strong