Hand Habits – can’t calm down

Labels:Saddle Creek
Number of Tracks:1
Total Time:00:03:35
From the Album:can’t calm down
Formats:AAA,Non-Commercial,NPR,Triple A
Available Date & Time: Feb 11 2019 12:00:00 EST
Impact Date: Feb 25 2019 00:00:00

Hand Habits To Release placeholder March 1 via Saddle Creek
“can’t calm down” 
Praise for Hand Habits:
"'placeholder' screams with a sigh… a soft yet scathing lamentation of being secondary." – NPR
"Catchy enough to feel like an anthem and slow enough to feel like a prayer." – Pitchfork
"Grander in scope than anything on the debut, more intricate and unspooling but still intensely focused." – Stereogum
"A vessel of complex, ever-evolving emotion, warm vocals and dexterous guitar shrieks." – Paste
Hand Habits shares "can't calm down," the latest single from their upcoming album, placeholder. The song features vocal contributions from fellow Saddle Creek artist Elizabeth Powell of Land of Talk, and comes on the heels of the title-track, "placeholder."
The song premiered on Matt Wilkinson's Beats 1 show via Apple Music, while Gorilla vs Bear premiered the Vanessa Haddad-directed video, saying, "Meg has never had a problem flooring us with devastating lyrical turns of phrase , and the profoundly articulated and relatable conceit at the center of “can’t calm down” — “what if I can’t calm down and i don’t have that in my bloodline?” — is a heartbreaking reflection on what Meg refers to as “ancestral damage.”
Meg Duffy, who you might recognize as a long-time member of Kevin Morby's touring band, sounds more assured and confident than ever on their new album, placeholder, out March 1st, and available for pre-order at the Saddle Creek Store (including 250 on limited-edition colored vinyl).
Additionally, Hand Habits has announced a 2019 spring tour in support of placeholder that kicks off its US leg in March, and its European one in May. North American dates below.
Photo Credit: Aubrey Trinnamen
Meg Duffy grew up in a small town in Upstate New York and they cut their teeth as a session guitarist and touring member of Kevin Morby's band. The Hand Habits project emerged after Meg moved to Los Angeles; it started as a private songwriting outlet but soon evolved into a fully-fledged band with Meg at the helm. Hand Habits' debut album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), was released by Woodsist Records in 2017. The LP was entirely self-produced and recorded in Meg's home during spare moments when they weren't touring. Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void) is a lush, homespun collection of folk songs that found Meg in an exploratory state as an artist moving out on their own for the first time.
Two years later, Hand Habits has returned with their sophomore album, placeholder, due out March 1st on Saddle Creek. To make this album, Meg chose to work in a studio and bring in collaborators, entrusting them with what had previously been a very personal creative process. Over the course of 12 tracks, Meg emerges with new confidence as both a bandleader and singer. This album is as tender and immediate as anything Meg's ever written, but it's also intensely focused and refined, the work of a meticulous musician ready to share their singular vision with the world.
The name placeholder stems from Meg's fascination with the undefinable. Their songs serve as openings — carved-out spaces waiting to be endowed with meaning. As a lyricist, Meg is drawn to the in-between, and the songs on this new album primarily confront the ways in which certain experiences can serve as a stepping stone on the road to self-discovery. "A big aspect of my songwriting and the way I move through the world depends on my relationships with people. The songs on placeholder are about accountability and forgiveness," Meg says. "These are all real stories. I don't fictionalize much."
placeholder opens with the title track which on its surface is about a break-up. "Oh but I was just a placeholder/ A lesson to be learned," a scorned Meg sings over a lush bed of twangy guitars. The blame quickly shifts, though, as Meg begins to take on partial responsibility for the partnership's collapse: "Oh but now you are just a placeholder/ Blinded by desire/ Oh now you're just a placeholder for someone wasting time." Nothing in Meg's world is as simple as black and white, right or wrong. An openness to nuance drives revelation in these songs.
"I value the closeness I share with my chosen family and I'm interested in queering relationships in my music. The relationships in my life expand my capacity to love because the lines between romance and friendship are often blurred," Meg explains. The bonds Meg addresses on placeholder extend beyond the bounds of romance. On "can't calm down," Meg contemplates inherited trauma and questions whether it's possible for someone to upend patterns of familial suffering. Relatedly, the closing track, "book on how to change part II," refers back to Meg's mother, who died when they were young. It's a simultaneously aching and reassuring song, buoyed in part by a saxophone and Meg's pointed harmonies that bring levity to painful subject matter.
Wildfires raged in Southern California when Meg wrote the bulk of placeholder, and the anxiety that came with living in L.A. during that time exposes itself throughout these songs. "Fire is such a powerful symbol. It's destructive, but it's also generative," Meg says. References to that particular mindset abound on placeholder, most notably on the stand-out track "wildfire," but it creeps into other songs, too. Separating side A from side B is a MIDI interlude titled "heat," which finds Meg repeating, "Heat beyond the lines of passion," a line borrowed from Jeanette Winterson's novel The Passion. Later, on the sweet and yearning "what lovers do," Meg likens desire to a glowing fire in a cadence that recalls Sharon Van Etten.
The flames that fuel placeholder occasionally billow out, but most often these songs are warm and comforting — a space listeners can return to again and again when the outside world starts to overwhelm. Meg describes these songs as their most direct to date, crafted with clear intention, and unlike Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), placeholder doesn't meander. "It's less of a submerged landscape and more a concise series of thoughts," Meg explains.
Instrumentally, placeholder can be situated alongside some of Meg's folk-adjacent contemporaries like Angel Olsen or Big Thief, and the guitar work on this album proves that Meg continues to be one of the finest young musicians working today. placeholder is another entry in the Hand Habits songbook, but it's also a valuable testament of our time. While placeholder inspires a sense of ease, simple questions rarely beget easy answers and Meg honors the indescribable joy and profound sorrow that comes with figuring things out, one step at a time.
03.22.19 – Bolinas, CA @ Bolinas Community Center
03.23.19 – San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall
03.25.19 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
03.26.19 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
03.29.19 – Salt Lake City @ Kilby Court
03.30.19 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
04.01.19 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
04.02.19 – Eau Claire, WI @ The Gallery at The Oxbow Hotel
04.03.19 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
04.04.19 – Chicago, IL @ Hideout
04.08.19 – Troy, NY @ Post Contemporary Church
04.09.19 – Hudson, NY @ The Half Moon Hudson
04.10.19 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
04.11.19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's
04.12.19 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd
04.13.19 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
04.14.19 – Nashville, NC @ The End
04.15.19 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
04.16.19 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
04.18.19 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk
04.20.19 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sanitary Tortilla Factory
04.21.19 – Tucson, AZ @ Hotel Congress
04.22.19 – Long Beach @ Living Room LBC
04.26.19 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Bootleg
3.22 with Alex Bleeker
3.23 with Wizard Apprentice and Stephen Steinbrink
3.25-26 with Mega Bog
4.1-4 with Tomberlin
4.4 with Gia Margaret
4.10-4.26 with Tasha
Christine Sanley – ***.***.**** or *********@**-****.*** 
Jessica Weber – ***.***.**** or *******@**-****.*** 
C.J. Olsen – ***.***.**** x 106 or **@******-*****.*** 
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