From left to right: Mike Kinsella, Steve Lamos, and Steve Holmes
|Origin||Urbana, Illinois, U.S.|
American Football is an American rock band from Urbana, Illinois, originally active from 1997 until 2000 and reunited in 2014. Guitarist/bassist and singer Mike Kinsella (formerly of Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc and currently of Owen), drummer and trumpet player Steve Lamos (formerly of The One Up Downstairs, one-time member of The Firebird Band and Edward Burch & the Staunch Characters, and currently of The Geese and DMS), and guitar player Steve Holmes (also of The Geese) formed the band. American Football reunited in 2014 and played a festival set and announced three headline shows in the fall of that year. They have since remained together.
Mike Kinsella and Steve Holmes knew one another at an early age, as both were students at Wheeling High School in Wheeling, IL, where Kinsella played drums for Cap'n Jazz; Holmes played guitar in a variety of bands. Kinsella and Lamos began playing together with David Johnson and Allen Johnson in 1997 under the name 'The One Up Downstairs', in which Kinsella was exclusively a vocalist. Three songs were recorded under this name, with the intention of releasing them as a 7" record on Polyvinyl Records. However, the band splintered before the record could be pressed and the songs were shelved. The three tracks recorded by The One Up Downstairs would finally be released in 2006 as a digital download EP, and in 2009, as a 7" record through Polyvinyl.
David Johnson and Allen Johnson went on to form the band Very Secretary (and later Favorite Saints), while Kinsella and Lamos began working with Steve Holmes. American Football completed a total of two releases--a titular EP in 1998 and its debut album in 1999, both through Polyvinyl Records. Though the band did not record bass on the EP, Kinsella played bass guitar on the LP.
Within a year of the release of its full-length, American Football became a studio project. Shortly thereafter, the band mutually decided to stop recording together. Still, American Football gained critical acclaim for that album, which merged the plain-spoken, confessional lyrics and the varying time signatures of math rock with a softer musical sensibility. These characteristics have been found in Kinsella's current project, Owen.
On March 20, 2014, Polyvinyl Records announced a deluxe edition of the band's self-titled album, American Football, which includes the original nine tracks from its 1999 release, as well as 10 additional unheard demos and live recordings. The deluxe edition is available as a 180-Gram Red 2xLP, 2xCD, cassette tape, and an MP3 download. Another version -- limited to 2,000 copies of a 180-Gram Green/Yellow 2xLP -- was also announced. All versions were released May 20, 2014.
On April 2, 2014, Polyvinyl teased fans with a website, americanfootballmusic.com, to fans on social media. The site had a countdown that expired on April 21, 2014, when two live dates in Champaign and New York were announced. The band added second and third shows in New York at Webster Hall which quickly sold out. For these dates, Nate Kinsella joined the band on bass. Since the band's new-found success, American Football booked tour dates worldwide in the US, Canada, Spain, UK, Japan, and Australia. 
On August 23, 2016, the band announced their second album, also titled American Football. In the same announcement, "I've Been So Lost For So Long" was made available for streaming through SoundCloud.
On October 21, 2016, the band released their second album for purchase worldwide through Polyvinyl Records.