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Arts & Culture

Hand Habits' 'Placeholder' Screams With A Sigh

Meg Duffy, who was the longtime lead guitarist for Kevin Morby, switched their focus to Hand Habits in 2017.
Meg Duffy, who was the longtime lead guitarist for Kevin Morby, switched their focus to Hand Habits in 2017.

As productive as screaming into the void can be, sometimes the most effective way to air grievances is simply with a sigh. Meg Duffy, who was the longtime lead guitarist for Kevin Morby, switched their focus to Hand Habits in 2017. Duffy's second album, placeholder, leads off with the title track, a soft yet scathing lamentation of being secondary.

"If you've ever held someone's seat in a theater, if you've been a bench warmer, if you've ever placed a reserved sign on top of a tablecloth, if you've been an 'extra' or a 'stand in' for something, you've experienced what being a placeholder feels like to some extent. You observe," Duffy tells NPR Music.

The song wearily recounts the age-old story of being someone's fallback, with Duffy growing more frustrated throughout the song. Additional vocals from Hannah Read (Lomelda) and wry guitar build, until the narrative is flipped — the agitator is now the proxy.


placeholder comes out March 1via Saddle Creek.

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