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Bystander (Deluxe Digital Edition)

by Johanna Samuels

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    First pressing on "dusty sunset" vinyl. Limited to 1000 copies.
    Includes 11x22 gatefold poster with lyrics, credits and additional artwork from Pear Juice Productions/

    Includes digital pre-order of Bystander (Deluxe Digital Edition). You get 12 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    digital album releases March 22, 2024
    item ships out within 5 days
    edition of 1000 
    Purchasable with gift card

      $23 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Highly portable compact disc edition in a cardboard wallet with an 8 page lyric insert.

    Includes digital pre-order of Bystander (Deluxe Digital Edition). You get 12 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    digital album releases March 22, 2024
    item ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $15 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Pre-order of Bystander (Deluxe Digital Edition). You get 12 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    Purchasable with gift card
    releases March 22, 2024

      $9 USD  or more

     

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Any Good 03:35
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Tampa 04:10
11.
Inside Girl 03:23
12.
13.
Love and Mercy (Bathroom Recording) - BONUS TRACK
14.
Ugly on the Inside (Los Angeles Sessions) - BONUS TRACK
15.
Valentine’s Day is Stupid (Feb. 14th, 2021 Demo) - BONUS TRACK

about

The bonus tracks here are a smattering of recordings from “Bystander” days. There are alternative versions of “Song for Molly Parden” & “Ugly On the Inside” that I’d recorded with Sean O’Brien, Sam Kaufman Skloff, Tyler Cash and Garret Lang in Los Angeles at Knob World. I love them, they capture a transitional moment. The original demo of “Valentine’s Day is Stupid” I wrote in my room for a songwriting seminar led by Buck Meek. The cover of “Love and Mercy” I recorded in my friend’s bathroom in Park Slope. I was attempting to teach it to my bandmates for a show. I don’t even think we ended up playing it! It’s one of my favorite Brian Wilson songs. When I hear all these tracks together I realize I was beginning an exiting chapter of musical independence. I hope you enjoy them!

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The first witnesses to Samuels’ new beginnings fittingly became part of the sound of the album. During her darkest moments, while writing in isolation, her old friends in the band Bonny Light Horseman offered to take her out on tour in early 2020. “They re-contextualized music for me all over again,” she says. Observing a truly kind and compassionate music community brought Samuels out of herself even more. Inspired by conversations with producer Josh Kaufman (The Hold Steady, Bob Weir, Cassandra Jenkins) on the road, Samuels took him up on his offer to produce her new songs and retreated to Isokon Studios in Woodstock, NY in the summer of 2021. They made the album as a duo, with Matt Barick (The Walkmen, Fleet Foxes) contributing drums on the entirety of the record. The result is a sonic template that ranges from the soaring and orchestral to the understated and confessional; at turns free-wheeling and filled with swagger then sincere and precise, with each subtle movement serving to highlight Samuels’ lyrical journeys.

As happens with albums that feel kinetic upon listening, the recording of Bystander with this skeleton crew of trusted friends served to underscore the questions Samuels had set out to answer when she began writing: “I had to ask myself ‘what are my values? What kind of people do I want around?”

In answering them, Samuels illuminates her path out of the wreckage. She doesn’t shy away from where she’s been but more importantly, over the course of these eleven elegiac poems set to a carefully curated symphony of tones, Samuels lets us know where she’s headed. Walking out of a thousand toxic conversations and away from a thousand false illusions, she’s stepping out into the street, with a glass raised for “whoever the fuck is left.” Listeners can count themselves among those being toasted; the lucky ones who get to greet Samuels and hear the tales of her reckoning.

credits

releases March 22, 2024

PRODUCED by Josh Kaufman
ENGINEERED, MIXED & MASTERED by D. James Goodwin
RECORDED at The Isokon in Woodstock, NY & The Bat House in Kingston, NY

PLAYERS: Johanna Samuels, Josh Kaufman, Matt Barrick
WITH: Adam Brisbin, Annie Nero, A.O. Gerber, Dan Knishkowy, Madison Cunningham, Phil Krohnengold, Steven Van Betten, Thomas Bartlett

ALBUM ART by Allyson Yarrow Pierce & Pear Juice Productions.

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Johanna Samuels Los Angeles, California

songs 🌼 BIPOC lives matter

'Excelsior!' is out now on Mama Bird Recording Co. (US/World) & Basin Rock (UK/EU).

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