Holding Place: Hand Habits and Tasha Play Songbyrd This Month

Just over a week from now, the voices of Tasha and Hand Habits will bless our ears in the basement of Songbyrd on 4/12 for a special US + SB co-presenting event. Get your tickets now.

After years of touring with Kevin Morby, Meg Duffy has returned to their solo project, Hand Habits. Perfectly captured in the cover art, their latest release, placeholder, takes the spacious and effortless sounds of 2017’s Wildly Idle and pushes the walls away to make more room for more of Duffy’s masterful shredding, and even more importantly, to spotlight the more fearless and prominent vocals of Duffy themselves.

On this record, Duffy shows that they’re much more than an instrumentalist that also writes songs, they’re a force to be reckoned with. With songs that sonically and lyrically capture the seemingly deserted landscape of a love lost, the moments of bareness bring the listeners’ attention even closer to the momentous details existing in the backing composition. The album as a whole allows for contradictions to cooly coexist, bringing out different colors through the contrasting timbres. There is purpose behind the pairing of the lightness of their voice with the gritty guitar, the brightness of a piano paired with warmer clean tones, and perhaps the most starkly deviated contrast from what we’d expect out of Duffy, the random AI-like coldness of “heat” next to the more melodic songs on the rest of the album.

Opening for Hand Habits, Chicago songwriter/poet, Tasha, will be performing her radical proclamations of softness. Since I’ve already reviewed her debut album for Hooligan Magazine, I’m going to recycle some of the words I’ve already used in an attempt to describe what you’re in for.

Aptly described as a collection of “bed songs,” Tasha’s debut album, Alone at Last, weaves a narrative that winds its way through self-care, feminism, love, race, and queerness without giving the listener more weight to carry. Each word sung or spoken is extended as an invitation, leading us into a world where we can seek refuge from our harsh reality and build a home within comfort. A world where rest is not synonymous with weakness and taking care of ourselves is not equated to selfishness.

By Ava Mirzadegan

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