Johanna Samuels’ Double Bind was recorded in her Bed-Stuy apartment, but it sounds like it was recorded in the 1970s, under the gentle guiding hand of Carole King. Samuels’ (mostly) piano-driven songs proceed confidently and gracefully, letting her robust alto roll gently over the instrumentation and seep deep into the spaces between the notes. Where most debut full-lengths feel like tentative sketches — hints of where an artist will be in five or 10 years’ time — Double Bind is alarmingly fully-realized, its arrangements elegant and intricate. Lyrically, the album plays like a collection of short stories, Samuels sketching kitchen-sink dramas and quietly wrenching love stories with a sure hand and powerful voice.
[Double Bind will be released on July 22. Johanna Samuels plays the Brooklyn venue Glasslands on July 27]