Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You Don't Love Me Yet

We learn today that novelist Jonathan Lethem has a new book coming out in March, entitled You Don't Love Me Yet. Apparently, according to Ed at The Dizzies blog, it's named after a song by early 90s outfit The Vulgar Boatmen. Now, I must declare I've never heard of these characters, Robert Ray and Dale Lawrence, let alone this song. My pal Ed remembers well the chiming guitar line from the music box of memory and says he needed the expertise of an mp3 blog to cope with dissemination of said tune -- so here we are for him and for you and for Jonathan Lethem.

The Boatmen? A "roots-pop" duo, claims AllMusic, early adopters of music-making by mail, a la the Postal Service. Sounds like: Everly Bros. in slacker town that one summer before anything mattered and everything meant something more. Interestingly, predating the dude from Iron & Wine, Robert Ray was/is a film studies professor at the University of Florida. I'm guessing the Boatmen's relative obscurity is part and parcel of the subtle literary emphasis here, given that Amazon describes Lethem's novel as being about "the near-fame experience of a Los Angeles alternative rock band." The V-B-Men are from Gainsborough, FL, and Indianapolis, IN, but whatever; we're working here in the fictiono-emotional space of a novelista. The secret wiretaps of memory are uneven, barely legal, fuzzy grey shapes speaking in subtitles on a tiny TV screen inside a white van parked on the street outside the dorm you lived in in that boring midwestern town. The book also includes "a sex-drenched bender that culminates with the band's debut performance—a breakout success." I get a little seasick imagining the long-sunken Gen-X themes this novel may dredge up. We haven't thought of our "generation" or its dubious place in "history" since, well, 9/11, which pretty much wiped our raison d'etre off the face of the "earth." I'm speaking, of course, of ... I can't even say it. I'm speechless and happier for it. You don't love me yet, you don't love me yet...

You Don't Love Me Yet - The Vulgar Boatmen

If that doesn't work try this:

You Don't Love Me Yet - The Vulgar Boatmen

Nice tune, y'know?

PS: I liked this quote by Boatman Dale Lawrence on Perfect Sound Forever: "Roxy Music or Little Richard or Rodgers & Hart speak to my life in ways that Eminem or the Strokes do not."


Anonymous said...

A great, great song by a band that's still occasionally gigging in and around Indianapolis. Thanks for posting the file, and thanks for plugging the book.

mwhybark said...

Lots more from a live show (2001?) at Chicago's Schuba's here, including a live version of You Don't Love Me Yet. I also went on and on at length on the occasion of the band's most recent CD release, a retrospective entitled Wide Awake, with bandleader Lawrence weighing in after I was mostly done.