Bacchus meets Blondie in NYSSA’s Shake Me Where I’m Foolish, out today on Six Shooter Records. The experience of listening to Shake Me Where I’m Foolish is one of total synthesis, a collapse of boundaries between centuries, a conjuring of wildness from within.
Named for a line in a poem by Chicago free verse poet Carl Sandburg, “Baby Song of the Four Winds,” Shake Me Where I’m Foolish invokes rebirth, freshness and freedom. The north wind, a cold plunge, a grotto of pleasure, going out beyond the breakwater, a night run amok: there are ways to break loose.
From the first track, “The Initiate,” NYSSA opens the wardrobe to a Punk Rock Narnia, an otherworld of her own design where 70s riffs carry ancient myths. Buckle up for “The Mystery,” a Cars-esque retelling of the secret rites of the cult of Demeter. Stumble over an imagined Jersey shore in “Good Kind of Bad,” a song that makes no apologies for its irresistibly irresponsible advice. Wallow exquisitely in “Creature 2 Creature,” a song that makes a hero of anyone who has refused to feel better, a la Magnetic Fields’ “I Don’t Want To Get Over You.”
Will you catch your breath or lose your grip on reality as the tension builds in the penultimate song “My Gemini,” a voyage through deep subconscious imagery and intuition. A dream both lucid and lurid, this imaginary travelog provides the artistic, thematic, epic heart of the album. The song hurtles headlong into the nightosphere as NYSSA goes where she must, unafraid to leave behind what doesn’t serve the call of her wild. With its fiery finish, “My Gemini” erupts, its chaos volcanic, ancient and cleansing.
From Montreal to Belfast to Berlin in the fall, and to SXSW and The Great Escape this spring, NYSSA’s travels mirror the geographic, mythological and polytheistic touchstones of her sophomore collection. Transportive and borderless, NYSSA’s songs ride the four winds to distant lands.
Six Shooter Records releases Shake Me Where I’m Foolish today to mark Imbolc, a traditional Gaelic and pagan festival.