ADA LEA – ” One Hand On The Steering Wheel The Other Sewing A Garden “

Posted: August 25, 2021 in MUSIC
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Ada Lea’s new album, “one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden”is out September 24th.

“partner” is one of the stories that make up one hand on the steering wheel…As a whole, these tracks chart unavoidable growth that comes with experience. On one hand, it’s a collection of walking-paced, cathartic pop/folk songs, and on the other a book of heart-twisting, rear-view stories of city life. The album is set in Montreal and each song exists as a dot on a personal history map of the city where Levy grew up. The city exists as both the location of and a character in many of these songs.

Throughout “partner,” Lea sings as if she’s bright-eyed during a late night. Her narrative lyrics about an introspective evening unfurls over piano, synth, and a drum machine: “the cab lets me off at the diner // just for memory’s sake // and I sit at the same booth // with tears in my eyes // begging won’t you admit you’re giving up on me too quick.” Levy describes it as “a song about moving through a memory… an involuntary memory that steals up on you the night after a rager (which takes place the morning after the song ‘damn’).” The accompanying cinematic video, directed by Erica Orofino, features Levy as she moves through memories and the city. 

Montreal’s Ada Lea (the moniker of Alexandra Levy) releases a new single/video, “partner,” from her forthcoming album, It’s the follow-up to previously-released singles “Damn” and “Hurt.”

Limited edition songbook bundle available for pre-order today.

Ada Lea – partner from one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden out September 24th on Saddle Creek and Next Door.

The resulting sounds range from classic, soft-rock beauty to intimate finger-picked folk passages and night-drive art-pop. And the textures are frequently surprising due to the collage of lo-fi and hi-fi sounds that tastefully decorate the album without ever clouding the heart-center of the song. Inspired by personal experience, daydreams, and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, the lyrics center storytelling on a bigger scale. The experience and emotions of a year are communicated through Levy’s vignettes of city life. Her prose is centered in its setting of the St Denis area of Montreal as it draws up memories from local haunts like Fameux, La Rockette, and Quai des Brumes in rearview reverie. Levy creates a balance through the album’s year by splitting her songs evenly into four seasons. 

As a song of winter, opening track “damn,” kicks off the narrative with the events of a cursed New Year’s Eve party. The song feels timeless with an AM Gold groove and 70s studio sheen. The accompanying video, directed by Monse Muro, is beautiful. It features stunning and intimate choreography by Axelle “Ebony” Munezero and Brittney Canda. Some of the movements are elongated and smooth, while others are erratic and abrupt.

Whether to consider these songs fiction or memoir remains unknown. Levy says “Why would I try to write a story that’s not my own? What good would that do?” but on the other hand, she is quick to note the ways that language fails to describe reality, and how difficult this makes it to tell an actually true story. The poetic misuse of the word “sewing” in the album’s title serves as a nod to the limitations words provide. What does it mean to sew the garden? And how can we appreciate its carefully knit blooms when the rearview mirror is so full of car exhaust?

Alexandra Levy: vocals Harrison Whitford: guitar, piano, bass Marshall Vore: synth, drum machine Tasy Hudson: drums *a sincere thank you to the canada council for the arts and banff centre for arts and creativity for their continued support and trust in the creation of songs throughout the years*

Music and Lyrics: Alexandra Levy

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