Hand Habits’ ‘Can’t Calm Down’ Is A Heartbreaking Exploration Of Ancestral Trauma

Singer-songwriter Hand Habits (real name Meg Duffy) has shared another excellent track from their upcoming album Placeholder, due out March 1. “Can’t Calm Down” is a contemplative, guitar-driven exploration of the very human phenomenon of ancestral trauma, but the video uses vampires as a fun visual conceit to represent the theme.

In the video, directed by Vanessa Haddad, Duffy plays a remorseful, melancholy vampire who just wants to do good but can’t stop sucking people’s blood. Duffy haunts the streets of their city at night, walking around alone and trying to resist temptation before ending up at a club and killing someone. The red lights of the seduction and blood-sucking scene are romantic and intimate, but Duffy wakes up with blood on their lips, regretful and alone again. In a press statement, Duffy spoke on the song’s lyrical themes:

“This song took the longest lyrically for me to finish. I started it about 3 years ago and kept it in progress throughout different cycles of feeling. ‘Ancestral damage’ and learned behaviors and conditioning to react/hold and place certain emotions are patterns I’m interested in taking part and understanding better. What can one do with rage? With pain? With sadness? And is it is possible to learn how to wipe away completely the knee jerk reactions to situations that are buried deep in one’s DNA? And the role models that taught us how to behave, whether directly or residually…are they the ones who should be held responsible or is memory partially to blame?”

Hand Habits’ new record Placeholder is due out on March 1 via Saddle Creek. Pre-order it here, and check out the video for “Can’t Calm Down” above.