Despite their influence from prominent New York City alternative bands, Famous Letter Writer take a completely different approach to pop music. The band, which is fronted by M.I. Devine, has a new album
WARHOLA that combines an array of influences like The Velvet Underground, The Strokes and Talking Heads. It’s out November 11 on Big Deep Records and we’re excited to premiere their new video for their song “All In My Head.”
“All In My Head” opens with an uplifting piano and electric drum template, providing plenty of space for Devine to lay down his idiosyncratic lyrics. Vocally, he’s got a unique sound that is reminscent of Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug (though nothing else about Famous Letter Writer sounds much like that band). The video features M.I. Devine and Ru in various scenes with an affected filter on the camera, giving off an otherworldly vibe.
The name of their upcoming album
WARHOLA is a reference to the famous pop-art pioneer Andy Warhol and his original European last name. The album is a deep dive into the roots of pop at Warhol’s Pencil Factory in New York City. Devine is joined on the record by multi-instrumentalist Ru Devine and it was produced by Keith Zarriello of The Shivers, a long-running New York City indie band. Rounding the players on the recording are Ari Folman-Cohen and Aynsley Powel.
“All In My Head” was born out of a tragedy, inspired by the death of Devine’s close friend. Making it all the more tragic, this young poet and Ivy League professor was incarcerated at the time of his death. This topic is addressed specifically in the book that M.I. Devine is releasing along with the new album. Called Warhol’s Mother’s Pantry, it’s described by the Los Angeles Review of Books as “a mixtape of genre-bending ‘prose that pops off the page.'”
“Pop remembers. It doesn’t forget. Ours is the moment of pop elegies, acts of address–an homage, a soup can, a portrait of Marilyn–to redress the slings and arrows, death’s blows. Death blows, but pop never quite admits, never quite knows,” said M.I. Devine.
“I had a friend who died in prison. A poet. What is it that the poet Franz Wright once wrote? ‘I know dead people, and you are not dead.’
I pull Hanif Abdurraqib’s book from my shelf and write a song. Not this (but I might be wrong). He writes letters on the death of Phife Dawg, letters to Phife’s mother, the poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor. Abdurraqib lets me recover Phife–A Tribe Called Quest–in a new way. I think of my old Low End Theory tape, machines with buttons that said ‘Play.’
No one will tell you, but here is something you must be told: ‘No matter how obsessed you’ve been with your own vanishing, there will always be someone who wants you whole.’
That’s something I stole from a book I once read. (Real life has taught me very little.) Still, the kids all google, ‘Is God really dead?’ (O, Siri looks so bored in the corner of your room.) Here’s the thing: Every song is an elegy, a joke, a trick at a tomb. Dry your eyes. The dead are not dead. Turn up Fontaines D.C. Life ain’t always empty.
Sob story? True story: Jesus was surrounded by his Twitter followers. ‘Jesus, don’t cry,’ sang Jeff Tweedy. But this was his Emo phase. His friend was dead. He looked at the tomb. He looked at the mob. He cried out to the dead man, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’
But Lazarus came fifth, so he lost the job.”
WARHOLA Track List
3. “All I Do Is Win”
5. “Get Out”
7. “7th Grade”
8. “G-d’s Funeral”
9. “All In My Head”