“placeholder is an impressive piece of craftsmanship, not only in its lyrics but in its sparkling production and masterly sense of melody-for such wistful songs, they have an uncanny ability to get stuck in your head.”– New Yorker
“An album full of songs that showcase Duffy’s gifts front and center… Peaceful, calming, with a hint of something else underneath the surface.”– Rolling Stone
“Meg Duffy is your favorite indie rocker’s favorite guitarist… Duffy plumbs new depths of intimacy when it comes to the topics of anxiety, loss, and forgiveness.” – Pitchfork
“Duffy pays scrupulous attention to detail in songs that function like intricate dioramas… On placeholder, the singer contemplates the fragility of human relationships and the hard-to-stomach reality that many of the people, experiences and places we’ve loved are only stepping stones on a journey of self-discovery.”– NPR
“Remarkable and inquisitive…recalls the piercing lucidity of Angel Olsen, the confidence of Sharon Van Etten.” -Stereogum
“Lulling, frank revelations on the complexities of desire.”– The FADER
“placeholder is more atmospheric than show-offy, in which Duffy’s tasteful, restrained playing supports the delicate melodies and reflective lyrics. “– UPROXX
“A vessel of complex, ever-evolving emotion, warm vocals and dexterous guitar shrieks.” – Paste
“Achingly beautiful and poignant… profoundly articulated and relatable.”– Gorilla vs Bear
Hand Habits, the project of Meg Duffy (they/them), has shared a cover of Neil Young‘s ‘i believe in you,’ the latest from their upcoming dirt EP. dirt finds the songwriter exploring themes of growth and finding ways to let go of the parts of their past that no longer serve them. It illuminates Duffy‘s attempts to evolve beyond the confines of their past.
Last month Hand Habits shared a video for the EP’s A-Side, ‘4th of july,’ which NPR’s Bob Boilen called “their best song ever,” and Stereogum named the best song of the week upon its release saying “Meg Duffy has leveled up with every Hand Habits album and it looks as though they’re about to do it again.”
The EP, which was co-produced by Duffy and Sasami Ashworth and Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), is available for pre-order now and due February 19th via Milk! Records / Remote Control.
While their most recent album placeholder saw them working with producer Brad Cook at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios and garnering praise from such outlets as NPR which called the work “their most fully realized statement” and the Los Angeles Times which praised the work as a “virtually seamless country rock album, with verses moving fluidly into choruses that travel unimpeded across sparkling, architecturally sophisticated bridges.”dirt showcases an artist returning to the fertile creative ground of their home.
However, this time around home-recording didn’t necessarily mean working in isolation. Duffy had relocated to a shared living situation in Los Angeles with musicians Sasami Ashworth and Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), which also housed Thomas‘ studio. The resulting songs showcase this creatively collaborative environment, with Ashworth co-producing the lead single and Thomas co-producing ‘i believe in you’. Such is the strength of this relationship, in fact, that this new single just may serve as a bridge toward a greater body of work the three will ultimately create together.
The sonic texture of ‘4th of july’ complements its lyrical journey, with a simple and sparse introduction marked by a slow burn crescendo hinting at the rupture to come, followed by an ecstatic wail of transcendent emotion. Fittingly, it concludes with a reprise of the beginning but this time altered by new sounds, suggesting a new perspective.
Similarly, Duffy breathes new life into the Young staple, ‘i believe in you,’ adding a foreboding weight and impact to the long-familiar words.
For Duffy, the process of recording and the song’s themes of growth through trust dovetailed perfectly. As they note, “There’s a foundation, and when there’s a foundation there’s opportunity to reimagine structures; physical and otherwise.”