Hand Habits' 'Placeholder' Screams With A Sigh The title track from Hand Habits forthcoming album —placeholder, due March 1 — is a soft yet scathing lamentation of being secondary.
NPR logo Hand Habits' 'Placeholder' Screams With A Sigh

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. Aubrey Trinnamen/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Aubrey Trinnamen/Courtesy of the artist

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

Aubrey Trinnamen/Courtesy of the artist

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.

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placeholder comes out March 1 via Saddle Creek.