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American Football Buys The Infamous 'American Football' House

6 May 2023 | 11:12 am | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

“Here’s to keeping this landmark alive for many more years to come.”

(Pic by Chris Strong)

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American Football, the Illinois emo band that came up with the best song of the genre, Never Meant, from their self-titled 1999 album, has just bought the house that takes centre-stage on the said album cover.

Making emo music history, the band issued the following statement to social media:

“Last Fall, we received word that 704 W High Street in Urbana might be sold soon. Shortly thereafter American Football, Polyvinyl, Chris Strong, Atiba Jefferson, and Open House Contemporary made a pact: we’d all buy the house together before developers could demolish it and build a condo.

“Today, with sincere joy, we are excited to share that we have collectively purchased The American Football House in an effort to preserve its place and legacy within the community that built it.

“Here’s to keeping this landmark alive for many more years to come.”

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The band’s record label, Polyvinyl, added that the American Football house was built in 1883 and “has become a historical monument to not only the band, but every fan who’s listened to their era-defining debut that established its quaint facade as iconic midwest imagery.”

As RockSound notes, the stairs inside the infamous house are on the album cover of American Football (LP2), released in 2016. The house also features in the Never Meant music video, which you can watch below.

The original American Football album from 1999 is still the definitive soundtrack to cry your mum's beat-up Subaru. If American Football is a band that's passed you by, it's important to know that from 1999 until 2014, they built a dedicated worldwide following of fans off the back of just one full-length album — 1999's seminal self-titled effort, plus a preceding, less-well-known three-track EP — and a handful of DIY shows in the fertile environment of late-'90s Chicago.

The advent of file-sharing took American Football out of the basement and into the thriving online counterculture of the early 2000s, leading to an eventual deluxe re-release of their debut album in 2014, a reunion in 2015, two more albums, and touring. Check out The Music’s interview with vocalist Mike Kinsella here.