Hand Habits performs at the Ottobar on April 20, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)
Hand Habits, the musical monicker of LA-based / New York native Meg Duffy, is something special. Meg is an incredible guitarist who has played with Mega Bog and currently with Kevin Morby but over the past several years she has honed her songwriting craft in her own project, the debut full-length of which was last year’s Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), released on Woodsist Records.
On Wildly Idle, there is a dreamy aesthetic that’s hard to place. I keep hearing songs like “Flower Glass” and “All the While,” and it feels like I’ve known them much longer than the short time they’ve been out in the wild, so to speak.
On tour with Kevin Morby, Meg has been pulling double duty as both Hand Habits and as guitar player and providing some vocals in the Kevin Morby band. At a sold-out Ottobar on Friday, Meg and drummer and labelmate John Andrews (of John Andrews and the Yawns, although as Meg hilariously noted John’s band was once billed as the Yams) played as a duo, but the sound that was created was full and complex.
One of the things that struck me was the attention the audience gave Hand Habits. A crowded room can get loud pretty fast, but the music that was created by Meg and John had people listening intently. Although it was a relatively short set (seven songs) the band played two new songs (one possibly entitled “Jessica” after Meg asked if there were any Jessicas in the house and dedicated the song to her). They even played a great cover of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel piece, “The Only Living Boy in New York.”
Listen to Flower Glass from Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void) on SoundCloud:
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Other songs they played from Wildly Idle included: “Flower Glass,” “Sun Beholds Me,” and “Actress” with the line that makes me smile: “Isn’t it just like me / I’m crackin’ up out of the blue / And sitting in the brightest sunshine / Sitting next to you.”
Even when, as the refrain goes “But it’s hard to tell a secret / When you know that it’s a lie / And it’s harder to be an actress / When you’re tryin’.”
Hand Habits ending their set with “All the While.” Definitely catch Meg and Company as they continue their tour through the Midwest and then onto the West Coast. You can find dates here.
Here are some photos of Hand Habits performing at the Ottobar on April 20, 2018. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.