Due: 23 Feb
The Past Is Still Alive sees Hurray for the Riff Raff reunite with Brad Cook, while further expanding their creative cast of collaborators. Anjimile, Conor Oberst, and S.G. Goodman all join Alynda Segarra on vocals at various points throughout the LP, with a band of musicians including Cook, Libby Rodenbough, Matt Douglas, Meg Duffy of Hand Habits, Mike Mogis, Phil Cook, and Yan Westerlund. Mike Mogis also mixed the album, and it was mastered by Heba Kadry.
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 “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.