Sheer Mag have labored to carve out a discernibly singular position within the canon of contemporary rock: toggling with ease between the refined flourishes of a “connoisseur’s band” and the ecstatic colloquialism of populist songwriting—yet displaying no strict loyalty to either camp—their sound, while oft-referenced, is unmistakably and immediately recognizable as theirs alone. On Playing Favorites, Sheer Mag’s third full-length and first with Third Man Records, the band capitalize on a decade’s worth of devotion to their own collective spirit—a spirit refined in both the sweaty trenches of punk warehouses and the larger-than-life glamour of concert halls—emerging with a dense work of gripping emotions, massive hooks, and masterfully constructed power-pop anthems. This is the record the Philadelphian rock and roll four-piece has always been destined to make.
Playing Favorites expands with a sense of undeniable vitality, buoyed by rock and roll’s singular capacity to channel a relentless compassion for human life. While at times marked by an intensified sense of melancholy, this newest offering takes stock of the confusing flow of daily life without moralizing, refusing to fall into antagonistic cynicism. Sheer Mag leans into the chaotic thrall of city living, of a life subdivided by the jagged highs and lows of bars, parties, and nightlife culture, with sweetly empathetic remove.
Its title track and album opener announces itself with a sense of self-assured swagger, spinning a jubilant tale of life on the road: the band is back together, and they know they’ve never sounded quite this good before. “After nearly ten years of touring together, we felt qualified to write a song about doing it. It’s a good introduction to the next era of Sheer Mag,” the band tell. Playing Favorites is available today alongside a video directed and photographed by Craig Scheihing which gives fans a glimpse into life on the road – watch above.
Playing Favorites is undoubtedly a record by the same Sheer Mag that audiences of all stripes have spent the last decade falling in love with. In fact, for all of its sonic departures and evolutions, this record is perhaps the most “Sheer Mag” release yet. Not so much a return to form, but rather a realization of those greatest promises that the band has up until now only hinted at. With Playing Favorites, Sheer Mag cater to their tastes and their tastes alone: so long as they continue to do so, the future of rock and roll, that great human tradition, is in the best of hands.
Sheer Mag have also announced a Spring 2024 North America headlining tour which kicks off in D.C. late March and routes them coast to coast through early May. Tickets go on sale tomorrow Friday, November 10 at 10AM local time – purchase or pre-save here.
Nov 28, 2023: Boston, MA – Royale ~ Nov 29, 2023: New York, NY – Webster Hall ~ Dec 01, 2023: Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer ~ Mar 29, 2024: Washington, DC – Songbyrd Mar 30, 2024: Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle – Back Room Mar 31, 2024: Asheville, NC – Eulogy Apr 01, 2024: Nashville, TN – The Blue Room at Third Man Records Apr 02, 2024: Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade, Purgatory Apr 04, 2024: New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa Apr 05, 2024: Houston, TX – The End Apr 06, 2024: Austin, TX – Far Out Lounge Apr 07, 2024: Dallas, TX – Double Wide Apr 09, 2024: Mesa, AZ – The Underground Apr 10, 2024: Tucson, AZ – Club Congress Apr 11, 2024: San Diego, CA – The Casbah Apr 12, 2024: Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room Apr 13, 2024: Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room Apr 15, 2024: San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop Apr 17, 2024: Portland, OR – Star Theater Apr 18, 2024: Seattle, WA – The Vera Project Apr 19, 2024: Boise, ID – The Shredder Apr 20, 2024: Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court Apr 22, 2024: Denver, CO – Hi Dive Apr 24, 2024: Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge Apr 25, 2024: Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry Apr 26, 2024: Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon Apr 27, 2024: Chicago, IL – Sleeping Village Apr 29, 2024: Kalamazoo, MI – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe May 01, 2024: Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground May 03, 2024: Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place May 04, 2024: Troy, NY – No Fun
~ w/ Baroness
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.