I have only been a fan of the self-titled debut record from Chicago trio American Football for the past couple of years. The fact that it is the band's only full-length release heightens the appeal; the fact that they barely played any shows before disbanding piques the interest further; the fact that Mike Kinsella went on to play in another band with only one release (up until last month), Owls, and his brother Tim formed Joan Of Arc, makes the short-lived fire that much more fervent. Now fifteen years on from its initial release in 1999, Polyvinyl has seen fit to reissue American Football - and I for one am so excited about the prospect of having this on vinyl for the first time. Never heard of it? Maybe not. But if you are a fan of Explosions In The Sky or other introspective, gossamer-knitted, emotive instrumental bands (see most of Temporary Residence's early roster), then you have tasted their influence. They aren't entirely devoid of lyrics though - yet on tracks like opener 'Never Meant' they perfectly encapsulate the tone and timbre of the music itself, playing out as a true complement rather than a counterpoint or embellishment. But what makes American Football such a great record is the emotional resonance that emanates from its very pores, something that very few bands (excepting the aforementioned Explosions...) can evoke. It for me is a true, deserved holder of the term timeless.
You can pre-order American Football here - it's out May 20. The deluxe edition includes an album's worth of rare live recordings, demos, and practice sessions (in which the group rehearsed material they never recorded elsewhere) to complement the original record. Beautifully expanded packaging incorporates new
photographs from Chris Strong along with lyrics, detailed liner notes written by the band, and never-before-seen band pictures. The below unreleased track is 'The 7s', which comes from a 1997 live recording. IT WAS THE FIRST SONG THEY EVER WROTE. It was the set closer until they wrote my favourite track (neck and neck with 'Honestly'), 'Stay Home'. They discarded this - most bands will never write something this good in their lives. Incredible.