Monday, October 20, 2014

12 by You Am I

Popular in their home country of Australia yet puzzlingly obscure everywhere else, You Am I occupy that gray area in the UnHerd universe. A populist band whose only sin was to favor those heralded virtues of the past: melody, hooks, guitars, and passion packed into the 3 minute glory shot. They combined go-for-broke rock & roll with wit and wounded romanticism in a way that's comparable to the Replacements, with front man Tim Rogers equally liable to pen a heart-on-the-sleeve confessional ballad as a raging slab of punk insolence. That unclassifiable range, of course, might be the aspect that kept them from the larger audience they so clearly deserved - but it's also what turned me into such a fan. Their last transmission as a band was in 2010, so let's hope this story isn't finished yet.

Hit Me Hard and Hit Me Low

1. Baby Clothes
2. If We Can't Get It Together
3. Heavy Heart
4. Radio Rumble
5. ...And Vandalism
6. Kick a Hole in the Sky
7. One Cent Coins
8. Deliverance
9. Crash
10. Gunslingers
11. Givin' Up and Gettin' Fat
12. We Hardly Knew You

Tracks 1, 2 from Hourly, Daily (1996)
Tracks 3, 4, 5 from You Am I's #4 Record (1998)
Track 6 from Dress Me Slowly (2001)
Track 7 from Damage EP (2000)
Track 8, 9 from Deliverance (2002)
Track 10 from Convicts (2007)
Track 11 from Dilettantes (2008)
Track 12 from You Am I (2010)


jonder said...

I agree with you 100% on You Am I. It's hard to understand why they never became popular here in the US, especially when lesser Aussie bands that obviously cribbed from You Am I (such as Silverchair and Jet) got onto alt-rock radio rotation here in the 90's. The "Superunreal" versions of the first three You Am I albums are very much worth buying even if you already have the originals, because there are so many great b-sides and live tracks on them. I have no idea why they didn't do a "Superunreal" reissue of #4 Record. Tim Rogers is a prolific songwriter, and there are more than enough b-sides from 1998-2000. This is a great introduction to the band -- "Crash" and "Givin Up" are two of my favorites among the more recent YAI albums.

Roy Pearl said...

Agreed all around, jonder. And I wasn't aware of the Superunreal" series of reissues. That's quite the treasure trove of bonus tracks. Definitely crossing my fingers that they give #4 and Dress Me Slowly the same treatment (if not all the rest)!

Tim Rogers solo album from last year was really good, but I'm still holding out hope for more You Am I.

jonder said...

A perfect example of You Am I's low profile outside their native land: you are a big fan, but you didn't hear about the reissues! The Superunreal editions are on Spotify, if you want to sample them. I also read on Facebook that a musical based on Tim Rogers' first solo record is planned. I too hope that the self-titled YAI album wasn't their last. The fact that it was self-released isn't a good sign.