Hand Habits Holds You Uncomfortably Close with New Album ‘Placeholder’

hand habits
Hand Habits — Photo Credit: Jacob Boll

Having played with the likes of Kevin Morby and The War On Drugs, Meg Duffy has proved they have got serious musical chops — though their sonic resumé doesn’t need to be verified by the like s of these dudes. Since their debut LP Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), Duffy has since demonstrated blossoming songwriting ability. While Hand Habits’ first LP showcased masterful guitar-playing agility and soft sentiments, placeholder offers a polished platter of strong vocal arrangements, strong-as-steel lyricism, and an exceptional ability for the tracks to get stuck in the listener’s head.

Hand Habits’ sophomore album placeholder is voiced with enough emotional and musical dexterity to last a lifetime. With punchy vocal melodies and intricate guitar parts, placeholder is hard to categorize; it holds indie-rock sensibilities, pop-inspired hooks, and folk attributes within the fabric of each of its songs. In addition to Duffy’s vast comprehension for song structure, the songs scream emotional maturity, self awareness, and precision; each one hangs as heavy as a stone that repeatedly hits you over the head. This is especially true for one of the lead tracks “can’t calm down”. With lyrics like, “what if I can’t calm down/ and I don’t have that in my bloodline?”, the song exhibits unflinching poeticism that evokes the dread of being forever suspended in unresolved panic. The closing track punches you in the gut even harder as Duffy nonchalantly croons “When I want to misbehave,  I think about my mother’s grave”. For the remainder of the album, Duffy explores the inevitable departure from the past and the reality of having to find closure with one’s ever-evolving self — making this album one where Hand Habits shows the audience their cards.

Final Thoughts: placeholder disarms you, holds you uncomfortably close, and offers you a mirror to then look at the deepest parts of yourself. The album is streaming ahead of its March 1 release date now via NPR.

Words by Libby Hsieh

Hand Habits will be playing in L.A. at the Bootleg Theater on Friday, April 26. You can purchase tickets HERE. Tickets start at $12. Doors open at 8:30pm.

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Hand Habits Tour Dates

3/22 – Bolinas, CA @ Bolinas Community Center >
3/23 – San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall < $
3/25 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios %
3/26 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern %
3/29 – Salt Lake City @ Kilby Court
3/30 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
4/1 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown *
4/2 – Eau Claire, WI @ The Gallery at The Oxbow Hotel *
4/3 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
4/4 – Chicago, IL @ Hideout * +
4/8 – Troy, NY @ Post Contemporary Church #
4/9 – Hudson, NY @ The Half Moon Hudson #
4/10 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom ^
4/11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s ^
4/12 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd DC Vinyl Lounge ^
4/13 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight ^
4/14 – Nashville, TN @ The End ^
4/15 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl ^
4/16 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa ^
4/18 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk (Inside) ^
4/20 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sanitary Tortilla Factory ^
4/21 – Tucson, AZ @ Hotel Congress ^
4/22 – Long Beach @ Living Room LBC ^
4/26 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Bootleg ^
5/3 – Vlieland, NL @ Here Comes The Summer Festival
5/4 – Brussels, BE @ Le Nuits Botanique &
5/7 – Bristol, UK @ Crofters Rights
5/8 – London, UK @ The Lexington
5/9 – Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape Festival
5/11 – Leeds, UK @ Gold Sounds Festival
5/12 – Manchester, UK @ YES
5/14 – Lille, FR @ La Bulle Cafe
5/15 – Paris, FR @ Supersonic
5/16 – Lyon, FR @ Le Sonic
5/17 – Nyon, CH @ La Paranthese
5/18 – Zürich, CH @ Lauter Festival
5/20 – München, DE @ Hauskonzerte
5/21 – Jena, DE @ Trafo
5/22 – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
5/24 – Brugge, BE Cactus Club
5/25 – Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling

w/ Alex Bleeker
< w/ Wizard Apprentice
$ w/ Stephen Steinbrink
% w/ Mega Bog

  • w/ Tomberlin
  • w/ Gia Margaret

w/ Eleanor Friedberger (solo)

^ w/ Tasha
& w/ Weyes Blood

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