Hand Habits Credit: Jacob Boll

Singer-songwriter Meg Duffy started the intimate Hand Habits project in their native upstate New York in the early 2010s, but largely put the project on pause after moving to Los Angeles and linking up with Kevin Morby as a session and touring guitarist. Taking a break seemed to serve Duffy well, or at least helped them get to a place where they could emerge with an indie-rock album as tender and taut as March’s Placeholder (Saddle Creek). Duffy recently told NPR that relationships play a key role in their worldview and songwriting, and that comes across clearly throughout the album. On the single “Can’t Calm Down,” Duffy reflects on their roots with melancholy and a defined ache, as they sing about their concerns of not living up to familial heroes; Duffy offers no concrete answers, but suggests deep thinking brings the first steps toward clarity.   v