Alex Rawls and Alison Fensterstock discuss the career and new album from Alynda Lee Segarra and Hurray for the Riff Raff.

alynda lee segarra hurray for the riff raff photo
Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, by Sarrah Danziger

Recently, Hurray for the Riff Raff released the band’s new album, The Navigator, and as usual, it presents an act in transition. The only constant in the group is singer and songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra, and although she’s a New Orleans resident, it’s very much an album focused on the New York City that she grew up in. Musically, Segarra works from a wider musical palate than the folky one she employed for 2014’s Small Town Heroes and 2012's Look Out Mama, and there’s less of a sense that her songwriting is growing in the number of rhetorical strategies available to her. For the album, she adopts the persona of Navita Milagros Negrón, a young woman much like herself to explore her Puerto Rican identity, and she uses that identity to speak more broadly.

In this week’s My Spilt Milk podcast, Alex Rawls and writer Alison Fensterstock discuss The Navigator and the band. Both have covered the band extensively and followed Segarra’s career since she moved to New Orleans roughly a decade ago. 

The show ends with what we’ve been listening to in the last week—for Alex, Los Angeles’ pop/R&B singer Brenton Wood; for Alison, psychedelic Brazilian band Som Imaginario. Tracks by both are below along with video of Hurray for the Riff Raff’s appearance at the NPR Music showcase at SXSW.