Hand Habits - placeholder
Critic Score
Based on 11 reviews
2019 Ratings: #212 / 737
User Score
Based on 150 ratings
2019 Ratings: #493
March 1, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
Saddle Creek / Label
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The Line of Best Fit

placeholder is the sound of Hand Habits hitting their stride, and playing to their strengths before anyone listening even realised what those strengths were.


Meg Duffy's second Hand Habits album offers some of the most insightful commentary you are likely to hear on the tumults and vicissitudes of the human heart.

Under The Radar

Duffy's latest full-length album, placeholder, is a lethargic collection of breezy soft rock, one that's free of excess.

Loud and Quiet

On the surface, ‘Placeholder’, is a directly compassionate and earnest listen, produced in part by the straightforward exposition of latent lyrical themes around forgiveness, fragility and suffering but also in the warm harmonies, skilled guitar work and a newly reinforced studio setup.

The 405

With Duffy’s versatile playing and open lyricism, placeholder takes the listener around a roving map of troubles, and delivers body blows at each destination.


Meg Duffy’s humble, comforting vocals will help cushion the blow that will inevitably come with any relationship, and their poetic aptitude results in a record that’s just as therapeutic and affecting on the written page as it is in sung form.

Northern Transmissions

Hand Habits’ sophomore record, placeholder, is a relaxed, if often pent-up art pop record with lush and addictively dense production.


Anxiety swirls through these songs about non-normative relationships, the unease countered by a bucolic mix of pleasing melodies, soft guitars, and gentle vocals.


Placeholder sees Hand Habits grow from the solo project of session and touring guitarist Meg Duffy to an official band ... The resulting album has a fuller sound, though it's still distinctly intimate. 

No Ripcord
It's not an easy listen—her melancholy is deeply felt, but also suffocating, to the extent that her impenetrable sadness can sometimes feel opaque.
pretty close to great but hampered by a few false steps. for me Meg Duffy fits somewhere between Marissa Nadler and Kathryn Joseph, creating quiet and subtle songs with thoughtful lyrics. she has obvious talent. having said that, she needs to learn to write a bridge, or stop giving in to someone else's ideas about how the bridge should go. the bridges on some of these songs are horribly incongruous, for whatever reason. also, don't use the word "canyon" in your song lyrics ever, ... read more
NPR's First Listen dropping the good stuff lately.

I'm surprised how good this is, although I probably shouldn't be. While I find "Wildly Idle" to be hit or miss (Woodsist albums are always on my radar), I couldn't deny the obvious potential and the few top notch songs. Here on "Placeholder", Meg Duffy's sophomore release, It’s one high quality tune after another. With subtle touches of atmosphere and a bit more swagger than some of the other recent releases, you'll ... read more
i really liked hand habits' last album but i can't feel the same about "placeholder"

★★☆☆☆ (it has some good tracks)
best tracks: yr heart > placeholder > can't calm down
It’s not as raw as say Julia Jacklin’s Crushing, but Placeholder doesn’t revel in any pretensions of being something more grandiose than it actually is, it’s just a solid collection of pleasant guitar tunes.
Am I the only one thought this album cover was an alex Cameron doppelganger.
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Year End Lists

#16/The Wild Honey Pie

Track List

  1. placeholder
  2. can’t calm down
  3. pacify
  4. jessica
  5. yr heart [reprise]
  6. heat
  7. are you serious?
  8. wildfire
  9. what’s the use
  10. guardrail/pwrline
  11. what lovers do
  12. the book on how to change part II
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Added on: January 8, 2019