((American Football)) Band Profile and Upcoming New York City Concerts - Oh My Rockness

Written by Patrick McNamara

(I wrote new band profiles for American Football + Mineral + Braid all on the same day. And that day is May 21st. The year is 2014. A.D. I just thought you should know.)

The first show I saw on my first night of college in the fall of 1996 was The One Up Downstairs in an old church at the University of Illinois in Urbana. I'd never heard of them before but remember really liking them (even though I was there to see Boys Life). I got so into the sweetly smooth twinkle-y noodle-y guitars that I almost forgot I was by myself in a cow town without any friends. I don’t know how many shows The One Up Downstairs ended up playing after that. But I’m betting it was closer to 1 than 10. Remnants of that band's short-lived goodness would live on, though. Two-thirds of the band became American Football circa 1997. And I bet you've heard of them.

And it's actually amazing you've heard of American Football. They only played, like, 12 shows. For 40 people at the most. Yet time still remembers them. It certainly helps that the band managed to put out an EP and a full-length (on Polyvinyl) that were both perfect displays of exquisitely crafted twinkle noodle nostalgia pop. Some called it emo. I called it growing up.

American Football was/is singer/guitarist Mike Kinsella (you know all the goodness he’s done - sure you do - because I believe in you) + drummer Steve Lamos + guitarist Steve Holmes. The three dudes have reunited to play some shows in Chicago and NYC (and maybe elsewhere - I can’t see the future - I’m still living in May 21st of 2014). And this news rules. That's what I really wanted to tell you today.

Oh wait. One more thing. Remember when I mentioned Polyvinyl? If you don’t, that’s understandable. I put that label's name in parentheses and not everybody can read between the curved lines. It doesn’t matter either way. Just wanted to also let you know that Polyvinyl recently put out a deluxe vinyl reissue of American Football’s now classic self-titled full-length. Remember when I was talking about that full-length earlier? You have no excuses if you missed that one. Anyway, you should get the reissue. Because it's great.

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for American Football. We sort of grew up together. And so much has changed for us both in the 17 years since that The One Up Downstairs show I saw on the first night of college. Except I still don’t really have any friends. But I do still have student loan debt. So that's something.

Published May 21, 2014



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