Hurray for the Riff Raff
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Hurray for the Riff Raff

Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos




Hurray for the Riff Raff - "Bricks". This band is from New Orleans. And it must be frustrating for Hurray for the Riff Raff, the hook for every review being about the place they call home. But it matters. This is a sweet song, yes, but it is about doom. Look at some of these lyrics: "Well, we stand tall / together like towers. / Well, together like towers / we fall / we fall / we fall." New Orleans knows something about collapses. It knows something about how love & life are not enough to prevent catastrophe. Alynda Lee and her junkyard folk band play a tragic love-song, a doomed one, but they've learned enough about dawns (about recoveries, resurrections, life-goes-ons'es) to set it in a major key. -

"It Don't Mean I Don't Love You Album Review"

chnology has made it possible to make hour-plus album, but does that mean bands should make hour-plus albums? I’ve heard the argument that it’s good value—more music for the money—but if you get stop enjoying it, how much of a bargain was it?

I’m with It Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love You from the start. The instrumental “Meet Me in the Morning” with its deeply echoed upright piano evoking loss and frail romanticism is beautiful, and Alyssa Lee’s plaintive “Daniella” is heartbreaking and sweet. Hurray for the Riff Raff’s post-Waits, post-Weill songs of Bywater drama are theatrical takes on the torch tradition, and they balance the musically amateur touches with more knowing performances.

At some point during the album’s running time, I notice songs that let the sounds and textures—the brittle banjo, the ethereal saw—do the hard work, and melodies sound familiar. I don’t take that as a sign of artistic weakness, though. If the album were 40 minutes long, that problem wouldn’t have arisen. Instead, I think of it as a band that recorded just a little too long. - Off Beat

"The National Post"

June Bugs & Hot Julys
Sean Michaels: National Post
July 2nd, 2008

The internet can be a scary place if you don't know what you're looking for. Every month, Sean Michaels of the music website Said the Gramophone offers an annotated guide to the music you ought to be downloading. Bonus: It's all legal!

Violent Femmes Crazy The Violent Femmes (yes those Violent Femmes, the ones who blister in the sun,) have been silent for almost eight years. But at last the iconic folk-punks un-hush and offer ... a cover? Gnarls Barkley's 2006 smash is here reinterpreted with mandolin, surf guitar, theremin and flute. Gordon Gano's voice crawls like a spider all over the song, but whereas Ceelo and Dangermouse's original was more or less bipolar, the Femmes' take is cracked right open, persistently weird, like they're rattling at the gates of Bedlam. (Out as a limited 12-inch single.)

Hurray for the Riff-Raff Bricks Hip hop and marching bands are now New Orleans' dominant musical exports -- miles from the coast, it's the music we expect from Katrina's survivors. But Hurray for the Riff-Raff's junkyard folk is just as apt: stubborn, melancholy and beautifully played. Alynda Lee sings like Jolie Holland or Leslie Feist, lit up with sorrows. And Bricks is a Southern gothic romance, a junebug serenade, a two-step bramble-bush waltz. (It Don't Mean I Don't Love You is out now.)

Women Black Rice None of Women's four members are women, and neither was their producer -- Calgary's acclaimed Chad VanGaalen. Nor is there much that's ladylike on Black Rice. Unless the Velvet Underground are ladylike, or glockenspiel is ladylike, or something that's half-catchy but just on the fuzzy side of familiar ... is ladylike. No, Women don't evoke women; but this is pop music that's part eight-track, part broken amp, part fireplace, part custard tart -- and both boys and girls will love it. (Women is out now.)

Rostam Batmanglij Campus On Vampire Weekend's debut, Campus is a song of skipping drums and electric guitar, full of beach-party jangle. But the band's keyboardist tried something different once, arranging strings for a version disclosed on his MySpace. The result is stunning, like Eleanor Rigby on a sunnier day, with violin and cello tracing wistful curlicues. But there's also something autumnal in this -- made explicit in alternate lyrics -- that's as welcome as anything in an over-hot July.

Numero 6 with Bonnie "Prince" Billy Da piccolissimi pezzi I can't figure out if this song makes sense or not. Will Oldham (a. k. a. Bonnie "Prince" Billy) is a prince of the new, weird Americana -- but does that make him a fit for new, weird Italiana? This is a Genovese band with a Genovese aesthetic -- Old World shadows, Euro-tastic bloops, guitars in the key of an Ennio Morricone sound-track. But Numero 6 also beat Oldham at bocce, or something, because here he is, utterly incongruous, singing in Italian like it's an average Saturday night in Kentucky. (The entire EP is a free download.)

Diamonds The Waking These British Columbians want to give you a pep talk. They want you to know that though things can be tough, though "we all have a hard time living," at the heart of it this is an awesome, awesome world. And while cynics will pooh-pooh and curmudgeons will scoff, Diamonds are unabashed. Their psalm starts quiet, the stuff of Little Wings or Hayden, but before long everyone's bangin' and yellin', stompin' and cheerin', shooting off fireworks the colour of stained glass. (Rough Cuts is available now as a free download.) diamonds. html - Follow the links at - The National Post

"Muzzle of Bees"

If you’re unfamiliar with Hurray For The Riff Raff the prefect introduction is their recently released Daytrotter session. I feel like you can get a pretty good feel for a band by looking at their record collection, analyzing their favorites and the albums that mean a lot to them. Take one look at the albums chosen by Alynda Lee Segarra for our 5 Albums feature and regular MoB readers will find a group they can get behind. Take our recommendation and pick up Hurray for the Riff Raff’s album It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You and hope this New Orleans three-piece makes it to Wisconsin on their next tour.

Townes Van Zandt - Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas
Townes Van Zandt is by far my favorite songwriter of all time. Townes’ lyrics are gentle, comforting, straight forward and yet also staggering in their poetic genius. When you are down, this is your man who will bring you back up. His music means more to me than I can explain, this album is the first Townes album I ever heard, sitting in my buddy’s truck outside my house in New Orleans. There are some voices we’re just searching for, a certain sound with certain words that we look for in music to soothe our troubles, and this was mine. Thankfully it even exists! There are few Townes albums that were produced simply and well. A lot of his album’s are decorated with terribly corny overdubs and synthesizers (damn you the 1980’s! Ruining country music!) But this is him in his prime, on stage, with his guitar, telling you jokes and singing to you. Songs like “Don’t take it to bad”, “If I needed you”, “White Freight Liner”, and of course “Poncho and Lefty.” These are classic songs that will live on for a long time, they cut right to the heart of any human willing to sit and listen. They ring true to any lonesome wanderer. These songs are honest and brilliantly crafted, I can only hope to write songs like these one day.

Neil Young - On the beach
I want to make a record like this one day! It is a dream come true. The story behind this album is the whole band drank tons of tequila and got incredibly stoned on some kind of honey and weed concoqution. And apparently that combined with the band only hearing the songs once or twice before recording created this blues driven master piece. I can’t even hold a coherent conversation after some tequila nevermind create a classic rock and roll album. Neil is where it’s at. From start to finish this album is everything you want from Rock n’ Roll. Starts out with some clean electric guitar driven pop song “Walk on” (The slide player is amazing!) to the spaced out glory of “See the sky about to rain” which has the best ending ever (wait for it.) Then there’s some dark borderline evil droning blues in the middle “Vampire Blues” “Revolution Blues” And don’t forget the mysterious “For the turnstiles” Which includes the highest male harmonies I’ve ever heard! Where did that song come from?! Another planet, I’m telling you this man is an alien. Sent to bring us the last couple of songs on the album that bring me to tears everytime. “Motion Pictures” and “Ambulance blues” They are just heartbreaking, it’s like you’re right there with Neil in some shitty motel room, he’s wasted, it’s been a tough year and he’s just singing all about it. The songs are looping and strange, don’t seem to planned out. I will always strive to create that magic in a recording. Thanks Neil, you rule.

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
Bob is a tough one. I love so many albums, they all carry such different feels. It’s hard to pin one down and say “this is what has influenced me” because I’d say 70% of Dylan’s huge body of work has inspired and effected me (Yes even ‘Slow Train Coming‘). And it’s a hard tug of war between his early bootlegs and his later explosion into Rock and Roll. Those early bootlegs and albums some of the most magical, honest and childlike (meant in the best way possible) recordings ever made. They definitely carry a lot of qualities that all musicians strive for (such as the ability to stop time.) But anyways, the point is Highway 61 Revisited will blow your mind! Every song on this album starts in a incredible way, whether it’s the bang of a drum and a screaming organ in “Like a Rolling Stone” or the calm country pace of “It takes a lot to laugh..” This whole album is a work of art. His lyrical senses were at an all time strange and dark place, Dylan was definitely dancing with some demons while making this album and it shows. He is full of youthful ego that is contagious and can pick you up no matter how low you are. But you can hear that faint trace of the human boy Dylan sometimes, and you realize he’s just human just like you (Which is a very strange thing to realize.) and he’s not a demon, he’s a very confused young genius going through some shit. Then he’ll come out of it and make something like John Wesley Harding. Whatever you create, do it to the fullest and with all you got, that’s the lesson here folks.

Des Ark - Live at Radio WXDU
I first heard this album about 4 years ago before I started Riff Raff. I was still just recording some songs by myself and handing those recordings out to very few people. (One of which being Walt) Walt gave this record to me after meeting Aimee on a tour he just went on. A very simple radio recording of Aimee and her guitars and banjos. It blew my world apart. I was a very, very new to songwriting at the time, with few influences I could name and no sense of purpose in my songwriting other than to expell some personal demons. Des Ark unwound a world I wanted in on, Aimee sings with a warm drawl that you ethier have or you don’t, songs that are brutally honest. That are on a mission to straighten things out but are not going to try to sugarcoat anything. I felt like it was the first time I’d heard songs that didn’t lie. She doesn’t claim to be perfect, and she admits she‘s got the devil in her sometimes. They are complicated and rough and beautiful. I feel like we are embarking on a new world of music as I see more and more female songwriters and band leaders. Well, Des Ark definitely is making that process of coming out of the wood work possible. Aimee totally inspired me to do whatever it is I do today.

Sundown Songs - Like a Jazz Band in Nashville
I had the privilege to play with these guys this past summer. This is their first album, made before I jumped in. I can tell you, this album was on repeat all throughout the homes in New Orleans. They left it behind when they spilt up to embark on separate travels two years ago. The idea behind the band was to basically bring together three songwriters who loved each other’s music. Add some other friends who played Bass (Homemade bass in fact.) and slide guitar. The result is them sitting in a small room with recording equipment for a couple of days and creating a simple, beautiful, I’d even say life changing album. These people are for real. Their songs are the real deal, full of heartache and lonesome-ness. Tales of traveling for a long time with no home to speak of. But there is also a serious thirst for adventure, solitude and life behind every song.

Catherine Cavazos is my favorite female singer of all time, dead or alive. She’s right next to Billie Holiday in my mind, her singing is pure gold. She digs it out of her whole existence everytime she sings. Brings out that gold right up to you in the form of a song. She is a treasure and a real artist, on this record you get to hear the magic of her songwriting and voice captured for the first time. Hank Williams, Mahalia Jackson, Ray Charles, they’d all be proud of her, I’m sure of it. I am so thankful to know these people and I hope their music reaches others out there. Real country music aint dead, long live Sundown Songs! - Muzzle of Bees

"Rolling Stone"

The Band: Hurray for the Riff Raff
The Buzz: Sweet, tender folk music built from brittle banjos and boasting lovely, loping melodies.
Listen If: You’re looking for the female-fronted counterpart to the Strand of Oaks record we listed above.
Key Track: “Daniella,” which continues the grand tradition of songs that question their subject’s taste in suitors. -


It happens that we get spooked sometimes - we need more lights on in the house to feel safe or perchance we'll never feel safe, as if something could always find us and get to our tender parts and underbellies and make us erupt in fright. Death is the bogeyman with a skeleton key to every room - the memories of the dead borrow those keys when they can overpower the big guy and they return to make matters complicated and on-edge. New Orleans three-piece group Hurray For The Riff Raff finds a way to bring these delicate wanderings of old souls and spirits from the past into the wide open spaces of consciousness, giving them clean sets of clothes, a cup of tea and an available ear for some fat chewing, for getting some things off of their resting minds. Lead singer and banjo player Alynda Lee Segarra sings with a huskier version of Judy Garland's voice, a wavering crescendo twinkling at the corners, which are still caked with somberness and a sober tone. She sings as if there's no rush, as if her stories have been there for a while - they're getting drunk together or they've been drunk for a while now and they're not going anywhere, unsuitable for driving or even stumbling. There seems to be ghosts and friendly devils or demons all over the hallways of Hurray For Riff Raff songs, eyeing everything and everybody to find their subjects, those they're looking for. These aren't random acts of fear or regret, just passionate retellings of the wrongs and the sorrows that don't evaporate upon the expiration of a pulse. They continue to beat and they continue to whisper into ears, breathing softly onto the napes of necks, felt tickling the tiny hairs on the outer edges of an ear lobe. Hurray For The Riff Raff makes an odd combination of darkened folk music that contains full-bodied crooning, fascinating elements of the macabre and the kind of Americana flourishes that show up in music by contemporaries such as Dark Dark Dark, The Handsome Family and North Carolina's The Bowerbirds. They aren't songs of gleefulness, but they can be. They don't rule it out, but there are too many hauntings to be ironed out and dealt with to get to that point quickly. Lee Segarra sings in "Amelia's Song," "You're not made out of stone, you're made out of honey and you can't be consumed by my life," and it's as if the line is being addressed to the invisible sight of someone whose bones are down six feet deep, rattling from the afterlife, but holding tight. These hauntings are enchanting and this band is even more so. - Daytrotter


"It Don't Mean I Don't Love You" Self Released 2008



Hurray for the Riff Raff began in 2006 as a solo project by Alynda Lee. At the time, Lee was a 18 year-old traveling street musician making simple home-recordings on her banjo in a bathroom in Brooklyn. These songs were intended to only be shared with friends, but they caught the attention of Walter McClements, the leader of the New Orleans band Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship? McClements encouraged Lee to move to New Orleans, where the Riff Raff became a duo, with McClements joining Lee on a host of instruments including accordian, banjo, and toy piano. His careful and heartfelt musicianship filled Lee's songs with essential colors and counter-melodies.

After moving to New Orleans, Lee became immersed in the city’s music. Her banjo skills were honed on the streets of the French Quarter, playing in traditional jazz bands for tips from tourists, a vocation that still pays her rent to this day. It was through these pick up jazz bands that she met Shae Freeman (musical saw), Aubrey Freeman (upright bass, pedal steel), and Aurora Nealand (woodwinds) who now round out the band.

Hurray for the Riff Raff, as it is now constituted, has just finished their debut LP, It Don't Mean I Don't Love You, which was recorded by Aubrey Freeman in his home studio. Lee's ability to craft a goregous melody is what drives the record. The songs range from tender to triumphant, and have a power that rarely comes from the pen of a 21 year-old.