Premiere: “Yr Heart,” by Hand Habits
Hand Habits is the project of Meg Duffy, an upstate New York-raised, LA-based musician who has collaborated with the likes of Kevin Morby, Mega Bog, and Weyes Blood.
Duffy’s musical talents have made her an in-demand studio and tour musician, but after several years of working with others on their projects, she stepped out on her own in February, 2017 with the release of Hand Habits’ debut album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void) via Woodsist Records.
The record’s layered guitars and hushed, lightly-psychedelic atmospheres quickly captured attention throughout the indie music world including that of Robb Nansel at Saddle Creek Records. This summer, he invited Hand Habits to participate in the label’s Document Series, a celebration of music communities around the country that features unreleased singles from independent artists along with a curated zine about their local music scene. “I had met [Nansel] a couple times at shows and once at a BBQ on 4th of July I cornered him and expressed my love for Land of Talk. We haven’t talked about any future releases yet, mostly been focusing on this one!” she says.
Although “Yr Heart” was written during the same time period she produced Wildly Idle, it has a markedly different vibe. “It definitely feels different from the songs on Wildly Idle, to me,” Duffy says. “It’s pretty upbeat and a little bit more up tempo than most of the songs from the record,” she says. The track was recorded at the home of M. Geddes Gengras, who mixed and mastered her Wildly Idle… (“as opposed to doing it alone in my room,” Duffy says) and features drums by Sheridan Riley guest harmonies from Kacey Johansing.
With its dreamy, sentimental vibes, and Duffy’s soft croon, it might be tempting to think “Yr Heart” is an ode to a long lost love or friend. The actual inspiration behind it stems from a different sort of companion. “I have a memory of sitting in my room at the time, and there was this window that this little bird would come and fly up to the sill and sit and watch me in the mornings! It scared me at first but I thought about it a lot and how weird it must be for birds to see humans doing their thing inside: sleeping and fucking and looking at screens,” Duffy says.
“Even though the song isn’t directly about a bird’s view of my room, it was a hard visual that got the song ball rolling. The window faces the yard, and when I first moved into that house—where I made most of Wildly Idle—I had never been woken up by a helicopter before, and at first when I saw the lights I thought-comet/shooting star. Then aliens, naturally. But ultimately, the song is trust; the desire to give and receive trust. And the way we all manipulate fate in the tiniest of ways.
Preview “Yr Heart” before it comes out on August 25. Pre-orders are available now.