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by Hand Habits

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1.
last time that i saw you both hands in the dirt asking for a photograph a picture you did not deserve oh but i was just a placeholder a lesson to be learned oh i was just a placeholder a place you will return last time that i heard your voice words i couldn’t comprehend as a thousand years of feedback screaming in my head oh but i was just a placeholder exchange for what you had oh i was just a placeholder a tension you retract ahh ah ah ah curious i came to you you wordlessly ignored as i stumbled psychically upon a truth i could not afford oh but i was just a placeholder a place and nothing more oh i was just a placeholder with nothing to stand for this is where i doubted you, and endless compromise to say that you told me to the truth is to tell each other lies oh but now you are the placeholder blinded by desire oh now you’re just a placeholder for someone wasting time ahha ah ahahaa
2.
take me back outside i don’t wanna hear the sound of buzzing lights bring me back to my old house i wanna see that tree i used to climb back when i was small i don’t wanna be that what if I can’t calm down, and i don’t have that in my bloodline? what if the faces of the holy are just faces from a fantasy and i i can’t see through their eyes? although that i try a struggle left undefined asking for clarity doesn't justify the crime and only if memory serves how can you be certain of what was deserved? now what if they were wrong? i don’t wanna be that what if i can’t calm down and i don’t have that in my bloodline? what if the faces of the holy are just faces from a fantasy and i can’t see through their eyes? although that i try what if i can’t calm down and i don’t have that in my bloodline? and what if the faces of the holy are just faces from a fantasy and i and what if i can’t calm down and i don’t have that in my bloodline yeah what if the faces of the holy are just faces from a fantasy and i yeah what if i can’t calm down and i don’t have that in mine yeah what if i can’t calm down and i don’t have that in mine
3.
pacify 04:17
far from where it all began blind to consequence silence from the only one who understands slower if you want it to be well i can change my speed oh i can wait for you to tell me when to speak wait until the morning came you thought it would be safe turns out it’s the same even in the midday but I don’t want to pacify you//with excuses no i don’t wanna pacify you seeing with a clearness well this is what you get blameless she runs back home to her man turn away from bigger things the bell of fear that rings clarity, hides within complexity but i don’t wanna pacify you//with excuses no i don’t wanna pacify you that seems useless oh i don’t wanna pacify you you’re not a child no i don’t wanna pacify you that seems wild
4.
jessica 04:03
when i get to thinking i start worrying that you don’t know me anymore worry takes me over turn on the radio as if to ask for more i hear "time casts its spell on you" and i can't follow you i wont follow you around broken i’ve seen what love can do holding out for someone and your heart gets hollowed out jessica i forget you shattered that reality so i forget triggered by a tragedy feeling sorry for uncertainty you blamed me for but blame cannot be placed upon or hung beside a shadow you choose to ignore and they say time casts its spell on you suddenly the mirror it turns itself around but i’ve seen the deepest part of you but i can’t act as though my voice can reach you now jessica i forget you shattered my reality i forget i do i do forgive i do i do forget how does it move so fast? my god it moves so fast jessica i forgive
5.
your heart beats hard like the pounding of the sparrow on the window that faces the yard and you are far but not that far i can feel you push your fingers through the fabric of all of my thoughts and i thought i saw a falling star go flying past the treeline and start a fire in my backyard and i let you see the part of me they call it understanding they call it vulnerability and the voice rang ooooooh says i will not harm you i will not alarm you and then i tried to get you on the line but the busy tones were blaring and there was someone from the other side and you are heat, you are serenity there's a million ways to fuck with fate to justify what you need and your voice rang ooooooh says i will not harm you i will not alarm you and then that voice rang ooooooh i will not delay you i want to obey you and then that voice rang ooooooh i will not deceive you i want to believe you and then that voice rang ooooooh says i will not harm you i will not alarm you
6.
heat 01:04
heat beyond the lines of passion
7.
in between the tantrums i know there’s understanding there just has to be otherwise why’d you mean so much to me? and you up on the hill with your marble and your fabrics you arrange by size take me out of place and out line she speaks clearly, tongue against her teeth i walk backwards, slowly spiraling to a place a used to fear hey how’d we get back here? are you serious? using words like multiplicity "hey how’d you get so much of me?" well i gave it to you seemed like the right thing for me to do fall back into our patterns, then who decides what matters when there are 2 of us? you were out of reach and i was out of touch she speaks clearly, tongue against her teeth i walk backwards, slowly spiraling to a place i used to fear hey how’d we get back here? are you serious? are you serious walk back to your apartment the wall paper, the garden it all fades away in the bathtub with clay on my face
8.
wildfire 04:09
it splits in two divide your purple mountain majesty a leader pushed aside it comes around surprise you didn’t see it coming now your leader’s out of line i don’t know where it all ends up all this wasted time california only one who knows how to burn without desire like wildfire wildfire the risk you take the pain in loss coiled like a serpent hiding in between your thoughts coiled like a serpent in us all head to the wall it’s gone your systems overidden intuition takes the fall you trust in intuition overall i don’t know where it all ends up all this wasted time california only one who knows how to burn without desire like wildfire
9.
you were a dove you were peaceful in the morning i’ve seen you start fires with your hands you were a bruise on the back side of my ankle i’ve seen you burn out and start again what’s the use what’s the use what’s the use if you’re not trying to forgive? you were a boulder destructive with your anger i’ve seen you move mountains with your eyes and i was afraid when i lost my identity inside of you, i guess we were the same what’s the use what’s the use what’s the use when what’s the use if you’re not trying to forgive? oh what’s the use if you’re not trying to forgive? you were a dove so peaceful in the morning but i’ve seen you take many different forms and i was so sure that you had all the answers because of you i'm capable of more i’m capable of more what’s the use if you’re not trying to forgive?
10.
watched it roll out i heard it in your canyon blood in your southern mouth such a slow sound i was humanized disarmed by all the doubt and how she leaves her light on for my friend it was confusing now it’s amusing such a means unto an end sun came up late now you’re floating in the dullness of the day seeing no flame no smoke or ash, no fire that burns our names and then you close your eyes close it all out you see guardrails and power lines picture horses running from the sound every time i try to speak i’m paralyzed by what i see i know i’m not a part of you that way terrified by what i seek you can’t see what’s in front of me i know i’m not a part of you that way i know i’m not a part of you that way and then the colors will tell you where you stand i saw yellow i saw silver shining blue i knew that i’d be here again
11.
packing up the pedals throw the petals on the floor now i know what love is for now i know what love is for see it from a distance but the distance seems too far you don’t want to leave the garden devil caught you way off guard with your hands halfway with your hands into the fire halfway with your hands into the fire of my desire asking you a question now the question seems so dumb you thought i would not remember how i was so overcome cards are on the table but I can see right through now i know what lovers do now i know what lovers do with your hands halfway with my hands into the fire halfway with my hands into the fire of my desire but don’t you want to be allowed? suddenly illuminated, truth is what was told i am speechless in a driveway as the oil stains the road then i was told a secret but the secret was a lie you said i don’t understand you i said you don’t even try with your hands halfway with your hands into the fire halfway with you hands into the fire of my desire into the fire of my desire into the fire of my desire now I know what lovers do
12.
when i want to misbehave think about my mothers grave and the book on how to change wasn’t written in one day if i had to rearrange the messages they take their shape like photographs taken from the book on how to change you are an anchor, holding holding me under i don’t have that memory waking from the deepest sleep the difference between life and dream i thought i heard your voice it was just the tv screen on the brightest clear blue day a boomerang, an aeroplane suddenly wanting to negotiate you are an anchor, holding holding me under i don’t have that memory no i don’t have that memory no i don’t have that can’t survive on milk alone or carving mirrors out of stone i thought i heard your voice it was just the telephone when i want to feel misplaced think about my mother’s face and the book on how to change never taught me anything

about

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. 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.”

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.

credits

released March 1, 2019

2019 Saddle Creek

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