American Football, Polyvinyl Records partner to buy iconic Urbana house


Jacob Slabosz

On Friday, midwest emo band American Football partnered with record label Polyninyl records to buy the American Football House, located at 704 W. High St. in Urbana.

By Lisa Chasanov, Staff Writer

Midwest emo band American Football has partnered with Champaign-based independent record label Polyvinyl Records to buy the 130-year-old Urbana house that appears on the cover of the band’s 1999 self-titled album. 

According to an announcement of the purchase posted to Polyvinyl’s website on Friday morning, the house’s “quaint facade” became “one of music’s biggest monuments” as a result of its appearance on the cover of the now-iconic album. 

The announcement said that the house show venue has attracted international visitors as part of a worldwide “emo pilgrimage.”

The house is listed as a historical landmark on Google Maps and has a 5.0 star rating with 21 reviews.

Polyvinyl said the decision to purchase the house was part of a pact between the band and the record label to protect it from potential development and demolition.

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The 704 W. High St. house features unique amenities including a halfpipe from the back porch to the basement and the now-infamous staircase that appears on the cover of American Football’s 2016 release “LP2.” 

Featuring tracks such as the mellow breakup anthem “Never Meant” and angsty rock-adjacent tune “Honestly?”, the “American Football” album is widely regarded as a cornerstone of the Midwest emo movement. 

According to a 2016 Vice article about the property, the house has defined and represented Urbana as a city since it was immortalized on the album’s cover. 

“For me, a lot of the stuff in the album artwork has to do with Urbana in general instead of specifically that house,” said Chris Strong, the photographer who captured the cover of “American Football,” to Vice. There’s a nice ‘Urbana’ thing about Urbana that I can’t put my finger on.”


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