Hand Habits, the brainchild of Meg Duffy, released the second single from their forthcoming album placeholder Thursday, along with an accompanying video. The track, “can’t calm down,” bears all the hallmarks of a Hand Habits track: deftly plucked guitar, introspective lyrics and Duffy’s gentle voice, ready to rock you to sleep. Elizabeth Powell of Land of Talk also contributes vocals to the song.
Duffy said of “can’t calm down”:
This song took the longest lyrically for me to finish. I started it about three years ago and kept it in progress throughout different cycles of feeling. “Ancestral damage” and learned behaviors and conditioning to react/hold and place certain emotions are patterns I’m interested in taking part and understanding better. What can one do with rage? With pain? With sadness? And is it is possible to learn how to wipe away completely the knee jerk reactions to situations that are buried deep in one’s DNA? And the role models that taught us how to behave, whether directly or residually … are they the ones who should be held responsible or is memory partially to blame?
This inner struggle is reflected in a warped, wonderful way in the Vanessa Haddad-directed music video. The skilled guitarist lopes through as a lonesome vampire, with none of the Gothic trappings, because the anemic lighting and vacant cityscapes are creepy enough. The story raises the question: Is it the monster’s nature to blame for their bloodlust, their memory of how much they enjoyed the last kill, or something else?
Hand Habits’ new record placeholder is due out March 1 via Saddle Creek. Watch the video for “can’t calm down” below and see Hand Habits’ tour dates here.