Double Bind

by Johanna Samuels

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about

25-year-old Johanna Samuels broadens the definition of pop music. The melodically and lyrically focused singer-songwriter sings about the depths and dualities of life with her unique bell-like voice. Standing on the shoulders of the great musicians of the 1960's and 70's she manages to create a sound and sense of musical place that is completely her own. The native New Yorker grew up in Los Angeles, where from a young age she sang in school choirs and obsessively learned to play the songs of her musical heroes by ear.

After moving back to New York at the age of 18, Samuels began writing her own songs alone in her bedroom. Soon after, she was playing solo shows at small downtown music venues like East Village’s Sidewalk Café.

In 2012 she recorded and self-released a six-track EP, Giant Fantasy Life and assembled a 4-piece backing band. With her rapidly growing audience and her delightfully authentic performing style, she is one of most promising acts to spring from the New York independent music scene.

In early spring of 2012 she set out to record her first full-length album, titled Double Bind. After recording basic tracks with the band at a quilt factory-turned-studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Samuels and drummer Fen Ikner, who produced Double Bind, finished recording wherever they could get the chance.

The songs on Double Bind were written in Johanna’s apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and all share a sentiment of necessary separation or as Samuels puts it “…attempting to own myself and stand on my two feet.” She explains, “While recording the album, a good friend had described the term Double Bind: a dynamic wherein two emotional demands are met but consequently negate each other, leaving one person to feel trapped. For some reason that struck a deep chord in me. It is from that place that many of these songs grew.”

With her feet firmly planted, Johanna plans to stick around the only ways she knows how: earnestly pouring out her heart, soul and creativity in the form of ear candy for us all. Double Bind is expected for release July 2014.

credits

released 22 July 2014

Musicians:
Johanna Samuels
Fen Ikner
Ken Edelson
Turner Stough
Kelly Pratt
Emily Holden
Stephanie Brown
Marie Page
Sean Pierce

Produced and Engineered by Fen Ikner
Mastered by Alex DeTurk
Photography by Sean Ryan Pierce
Cover photo styled by Maggy Frances Schultz

All Compositions by Johanna Samuels

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Johanna Samuels New York

25-year-old Johanna Samuels broadens the definition of pop music. The melodically and lyrically focused singer-songwriter sings about the depths and dualities of life with her unique bell-like voice. Standing on the shoulders of the great musicians of the 1960’s and 70’s she manages to create a sound and sense of musical place that is completely her own. ... more

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Track Name: For You To Do
I remember what you told me
When I came to see you in LA
You told me not to waste my time worrying
Cause there was nothing I was allowed to say
And after all this time I could see
Your plan was taking shape
And emotion had nothing to do with it
I was a risk you were willing to take

At this point I have to ask myself if
These words are for me or for you
All those times I tried to reach you with songs cause
There was nothing left for me to do
And I wonder when you hear them
Do you see an outline of your face?
Or do your fears just lace over the rhymes
Cause of the chemicals in you racing?

And I told you
And I tell you
And I beg you
And I try to do it for you
But it’s for you to do

I was thinking of you
When I was sat down by your pawn
She was reading me a script you wrote
Called “Self-Righteous and In the Wrong”
But when I really listened
I could see she’d also slipped away
This can’t be what you mean to do
To get her fixed and make her pay

And it’s hard to keep an ally in your game
Cause everyone who loves you
Feels a weight too great to take on
Cause loving someone like you
Is pain begging to be faked through

And I told you
And I tell you
And I beg you
And I try to do it for you
When it’s for you to do
And I told you
But I’ll tell you again
That I beg of you
And I try to do this for you
When it’s for you to do
Track Name: Real Tragedies
I know it’s you
You keep me close and my love surrounds
And then you do the things you do
With all those guys you keep around
As if we enjoy
Watching you suffer on the ground

It’s not about luck, my love
Luck is something
You’ve got plenty of
We’re face to face
I owe you to you to say stop

The things you choose to see
You call them real tragedies
And my experience of grief
There is no reciprocity
All I needed was you
A friend to spend tonight with me

It’s not about love, my love
Love is something you’ve got so much of and
We’re face to face
I owe it to you to say
It should come from you, my love.

I remember when I found you
Talking to the wall
And when you turned to look at me
There was no you in there at all
But you still turned to me
And all you had to do was call

This can’t be about luck, my love
You might call it luck I’ve been loving you so long
We’re face to face
I owe it to you to say
I deserve it too
I deserve it from you, my love.
What I call a real tragedy
Track Name: Please Say Some Good
I dreamed I had a daughter
She asked me how the breaking’s done
And I said “Watch the brother hit the sister
Now watch the mother slap the son.”

She’s counting her misfortunes
She likes to use them for her eyes
One truth blown from proportion
The key to any good disguise

So please say
Some good
Will come from these heavy days
And you say
That you would
But you know a faster way

He wants to keep me in his picture
That way he never will grow cold
But he’s lost every image
He keeps them small enough to hold

So please say
That some good
Will come from these heavy days
And you say

That you would
But you know a faster way

I dreamed I was your daughter
I asked you what I had become
And you said through the window
“I’m sorry for the things I’ve done.”

Please say some good
Please say some good
Please say some good
That can come from…
Track Name: From Above You
From above you I can know you
From below you I can love you
If I had the chance to save you
Would I try to change you
I could name a few

You could leave town
But you just stick around
And you keep talking about the ones you knew
So I set you free you’re still not happy
Then is it right now that you’re looking through?

So I leave it to you write the rest
Cause when it comes to fiction
You’d know best

You can show your scars on the subway car
While you hog the bar, you can read to me
About your savior, and your sickness
Without a witness
Baby, are you lonely?

Darling, take some time and decompress
Cause when it’s time to love me it’s a test

Cause you know that you die one day so fine.
I want to love you while you’re here
but it might be a waste of time

Cause we both know we’re both gone one day so bye.
Help me love myself
and keep yourself away from my heart

There’s no need to ask what happens next
Cause when it comes to running you’d know
I might take a stab and write the rest
Cause we both know that it would be - it would be
For the best
Track Name: This Place
Don worked at a drug store as the clerk behind the counter
It felt like 12 more hours till he got to close up shop
And his brain kept repeating how he never thought he’d doubt her
And the image of her new love made his empty stomach drop

“You’re wearing such a long face…” said his young co-worker, Mary,
“Has word gone ‘round I gave my two weeks notice to the boss?
Yes I’m packing it up lightly so I won’t have much to carry.
I start driving on Sunday and I plan on getting lost.

I am leaving this place
I’ve stayed too long 

I hear something calling now.”

Nervous Donnie just repeated the same story from before
About how he loved her and he lost her and he cannot ease his mind
“You know you can,” said Mary, “It’s what you choose to ignore.
It’s misconception stopping you from leaving this behind.

You should leave this place
Cause you’ve stayed too long
(What Can I do do do?)
I hear something calling now.”
(Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring)

His brown eyes opened wide and Mary knew that he would follow
He said, “I’ll take this trip to become just as free as you.”
She said, “Don’t get wrong impressions- I am sad and lost and hollow.
But I’m proud to be a searcher, seeking something that is true.

I am leaving this place
Cause I’ve stayed too long
I hear something calling now.
Ouch.

We will leave on Sunday and it won’t be long
(It won’t be la la la)
We will find what’s been calling now.”
Oh…
Track Name: Double Bind
Tell me the way you want me to be
I’m pretty good at pretending I’m free
Show me the way you want me to feel
I’ll do my best pretend it’s all real

The truth with us never is how it all seems
You said that’s why we make a good team

When I left home I saw from outside
The rules that I broke they felt like a lie
Would it be alright if I stepped away?
The parts that you wrote don’t work anyway

The truth with us never is how it all seems
You said that’s why we make a good team

Tell me the way you want me to be
I’m pretty good at pretending I’m free
Show me the way you want me to feel
I’ll do my best and pretend it’s all real

The truth with us never is how it all seems
Maybe that’s why we make a good team
The truth with us never is how it all seems
You said that’s why we make a good team

The truth with us never is how it all seems
Track Name: Your Door
It’s been a while now
I’ve been driving past your house
Your door is open wide and I’m unable to get out

The only way I could look you in the eye
Is when I’m standing at your door
And you’re on the other side

Don’t make this easy
I’ve got to hear that slam
I’ll stand out in the rain and try to break it down again

(Just close your door)
Please don’t invite me in
I’m gonna fight you on this, Baby. Baby.
(Just close your door)
Don’t tell me come on in
I’m not gonna make this easy for you.

You said that I was just a good try.
Good try.
I wasn’t eager to know why
I’m not the type of girl to comply.
Comply.
With a lock and bolts between us
I can listen to the sky

(Just close your door)
Please don’t invite me in
I’m gonna fight you on this, Baby. Baby.
(Just close your door)
Even if you want me now
I’m gonna fight you on this baby
(Just close your door)
Don’t tell me come on in
I’m not gonna make this easy for you.

You can’t have me just close your door
If you want me just close your door

For a while now
I’ve been remembering your face
Every time you screamed it was a line that I could trace
And when I think of all the things that you would take
I want to put it to the test so I can see if I will break

(Just close your door)
Don’t you invite me in
I’m gonna fight you on this, Baby. Baby.
(Just close your door)
Even if you want me now
I’m gonna fight you on this, Baby.
(Just close your door)

You can’t have me just close your door
But if you want me just close your door
Track Name: Almost
Oh the stars they seem so far
But they’re not so hard to reach
You just need a job with a company car
There’ll be plenty they’d love to teach you about themselves
Make them feel okay and let them play the part they want to play
They’ll ask you back if they don’t stay

You’re acting as if you know me
From a canyon by the beach
You keep hinting at destruction
Like it’s something out of reach
I’ve got a man who’s good to me
You’ve got something at home you know you’ll keep
Is this how you treat

Any girl with brown hair
And some kind of sense of humor?
I may have seen your movie
But you shouldn’t let that fool ya’
You think because you’ve got that face
There’s nothing in the world that you can’t take
and the rest you just fake.

And I’m almost sorry for you
Cause when you come down from your high
You know that all of it’s untrue
I’m almost sorry for you…. Almost. Almost.

Sickly little heartthrob down on Hollywood and Vine
You say it comes so easy doing damage all the time
I know that you’ll remember me
I hung onto the one thing that was mine
And I’m doing fine. I’m doing fine.

And I’m almost sorry for you
Track Name: Give It Up
So angry
I’m angry too
For the longest time I
I blamed this all on you
We traded our faiths for opposing points of view
But I’m the same way
I know why you do the things you do
You always do
And I do to

But if you could give it up
I would call you brave
And then you could show me love
Before you go away

So happy
You came to stay
The sun was shining
You took me to a play
About another of all the ways you paid
For stains
But your pain is my pain

So if you could give it up
I would call you brave
And then you could show your love
Before you go away

(Instrumental)

If you could give it up
I would call you brave
And then I would love to love
I wouldn’t turn away

And if you do give it up
It might start to rain
And if you can feel the drops
Then this will wash away
Wash away
Track Name: Chanson
Don’t think I ever found the proper way to thank you enough
For not leaving when we started and my going got rough
And for meeting me with comfort when I threw you distrust
And for moving to the city when my past turned to dust

Now I’m seeing that you’re lonely and you’re working too hard
And the rushing and the concrete makes the ocean seem far
And you tell me that you’re longing but to just disregard
And the anger and the silence then a shot through your heart

But if you wanna go home
I’m coming too
And if you want to go alone
Then do what you have to do
But if you wanna know
If I’d follow through with you
Baby, you oughta know…
My God, if only you knew

When summer descends on New York City
I’m gonna grab onto you
and I won’t ask for pity
Or if you wanna stay of if you think I’m pretty

If you wanna go home
I’m coming too
But if you want to go alone
Then do what you have to do
But if you wanna know
If I’d follow through with you
Baby, you oughta know…

My god if only you knew
My god if only you knew
My god if only you knew