PRE-ORDER NOW: Released 23rd February 2024
With the announcement of their latest and most liberating album to date, Hurray For The Riff Raff (aka Alynda Segarra, they/them) opens the doorway to a language and world that are finally their own. The Past Is Still Alive represents a new beginning in Segarra’s lauded evolution as a storyteller. During a period of pain and personal grief, they found inspiration in radical poetry, railroad culture, outsider art, the work of writer Eileen Myles, and the history of activist groups like ACT UP and Gran Fury. Discovering a stronger, more singular style of writing, Segarra uses their lyrics as memory boxes to process their trauma, identity, and dreams for the future. They immortalize and say goodbye to those they have loved and lost, illustrate the many shapes and patterns of time’s passing, and honor the heartbroken and the hopeful parts of themselves, as they deliver a first-person telling of their life so far. It is both a memoir and a roadmap, and though The Past Is Still Alive was made in North Carolina and produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Kevin Morby, Waxahatchee), the Bronx-born, New Orleans-based Segarra brings listeners to places far beyond: vivid experiences of small shops and buffalo stampedes in Santa Fe, childhood road trips to Florida, struggles of addiction in the Lower East Side, days-long journeys to outrun the cops in Nebraska, and more, across their most magnetic collection of songs yet.
The “nature punk” of Life on Earth marked a departure for Hurray For The Riff Raff, as they contemplated surviving and thriving amidst a world in crisis. The Past Is Still Alive brings the focus back inwards, with arrangements that are raw, melodies direct and indelible, and lyrics that are personal yet largely rooted in family and community. There are love songs to real characters, locations and mythic figures like Sky Red Hawk (‘Buffalo’); the first trans woman Segarra ever met (‘Hawkmoon’); queerness and sacred spaces for outsiders and the vulnerable, in the aftermath of the Club Q shooting (‘Colossus of Roads’); leaving home behind and discovering oneself on the edge of the world (‘Snake Plant’); and short-lived romances and the wisdom gained through chaos (‘Vetiver’). Elsewhere, in the self-portraits painted on first single ‘Alibi’, ‘Ogallala’, and other album highlights, Segarra reflects on the land they have traveled, the hardships witnessed, and bravery gained while running away from everything and everyone they knew at age seventeen, hopping freight trains and hitchhiking across the country with a band of street urchins.