When discussing “emo” music, the word likely conjures up images of eyeliner clad lead singers brooding over the loss of love. To the musically enlightened, “emo” is a word that brings about discussions of how the early 2000s was a poor reflection of what the genre once was. Fans of the “emo” (short for “emotional” or “emotional hardcore”) musical movement of the mid-1990’s have incredible reason to rejoice as a staple band of the genre, American Football, has announced two reunion shows. The shows will take place in the fall, with the first happening in Chicago, the birthplace of the band, and the second happening in New York City, to give East Coast fans a chance to see them live. This is the first anyone has heard of anything happening from this band in about fifteen years. The band also plans to re-release their self titled LP on vinyl through the record label Polyvinyl. The record will be available for purchase on May 20th for vinyl enthusiasts, and will come in a variety of colors. Tickets for the shows will go on sale this Friday (April 25, 2014).
American Football, while widely appreciated among today’s indie and punk scenes, may not be on everyone’s radar. The band is named after the sport, the reasoning supposedly being a slight dig at the fact that American NFL players were the most overpaid athletes in the world, and likewise for American rock musicians at the time of the band’s conception. The band is the effort of three musicians: Mike Kinsella (member of the bands: Owen, Cap’n Jazz, Their/They’re/There, Owls), Steve Lamos, and Steve Holmes. Their music is marked by complex yet intricately fluid guitar work, most often in not widely used tunings, and use of time signatures not normally utilized in rock music. On top of this, the lyrical content focuses on heartache and sadness. Together, these two elements create a delicate sound that blends the emotions of both the musicianship and the lyricism in a melancholy harmony. Many fans of the genre often cite the band as the launch of the second wave of the “emo” movement. American Football’s music has been a large influence on today’s punk and indie bands, and several newer bands in the scene are often noted for their attempts at re-creating that “90’s emo” sound.
Given the talk among the punk subculture regarding what many have been calling an on-going “emo revival,” American Football’s reunion shows and re-release of their LP is certainly going to have a lot of people talking about the genre. Already now a simple peruse of twitter or any punk/indie oriented music website has many speculating about what these reunion shows could mean. Undoubtedly, long-time fans of the band may want to hear new music, or perhaps see some unreleased songs from the band. For younger fans, the reunion may seem to good to be true, especially since American Football is a band that was never expected to reunite, given the success and acclaim of singer and songwriter Mike Kinsella’s other endeavors, namely Owen and Their/They’re/There. The band has given no word on whether there will be any future tour dates aside from these two reunion shows, however any announcements regarding American Football touring or making music in the future will likely be met with open arms. Regardless of what this means for the band, fans should have their wallets at the ready this Friday, as these tickets will not last long.
Opinion by Michael Foster