Sonic City 2019

08.11 2019

Sheer Mag

Curated by Shame

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Sheer Mag’s dizzying rise began in 2014, when the Philadelphia band self-released three 7-inches. Their music stood apart because it sounded so familiar. Indebted to ‘70s arena rock, power-pop, and proto-metal, Sheer Mag’s songs reminded a lot of us of the music we grew up with, but maybe couldn’t relate to because it was big, brash, and unapologetically macho. Sheer Mag reclaimed some of that energy without perpetuating the toxicity. On their debut album, ‘Need to Feel Your Love’ (2017), the band surveyed their contemporary political landscape through the lens of history.

Sheer Mag return with their sophomore album, ‘A Distant Call’. They’re still writing about surviving our current hellscape, but this time around, the politics get extra-personal. The album verges on being a concept piece, and the protagonist resembles frontwoman herself. The songs document a particularly alienating time in her life when she was laid off from a job. Broke and newly single, her father passed away, leaving her with more wounds than felt possible to heal. “We’ve been waiting to write these songs since we started the band and we were able to take these experiences and build a story out of them,” Halladay says. “‘A Distant Call’ makes an argument for socialism on an anecdotal level. We’re talking about how late capitalism alienates and commodifies whatever is in its path without using the term ‘late capitalism.’”

“Sheer Mag's music stuffs hip-shaking hooks and burly riffs within impeccably structured pop songs, wrapped in lyrics both open-hearted and openly political. They’re the Jackson 5 raised to play punk rock, with an F-5 tornado for a singer."
– Pitchfork

“Where many of today’s indie rock bands are concerned with the crush of content or the ways in which technology has infected the motions of romance, the people in Sheer Mag’s songs often exist in a world before cell phones, where people met in bars and confronted each other in person.”
- SPIN

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