History has shown that the greatest bands–bands with that certain, ever-elusive quality called lasting power–neither conform to nor buck the trends of their time, but rather force the times to catch up to them. Sheer Mag has such lasting power in droves. After almost a decade spent carving out a career that has already become the stuff of modern underground legend, the band’s new stand-alone single, “All Lined Up,” comes alongside the announcement of their signing to Third Man Records–their first partnership with a larger independent label–who will also be physically and digitally re-releasing the entirety of Sheer Mag’s back-catalog, including their cult-beloved early EPs I (2014), II (2015), and III (2016), as well as their first two breakthrough LPs, Need To Feel Your Love (2017) and A Distant Call (2019).
Sheer Mag’s sensibility, as fervently beloved by baseball-tee-clad garage rockers and tattoo-less indie kids as it is by leather-and-stud-loyal punks, finds its strength in an unconventional mixture of refined complexity and straightforward pop prowess. Seamlessly trading between head-turning guitar heroics and a charmingly timeless blend of disco, hard rock, and garage-inflected hooks, Sheer Mag’s oft-referenced, never-replicated sound has played an undeniably large role in stoking the current resurgence of interest in power-pop forward rock music. While quickly adopted as a fan-favorite amongst the sweat-caked crowds of the early 2010s underground, time has attested to Sheer Mag’s singular cultural mutability: though never straying too far from their home-town Philadelphian origins.
The move to Third Man comes at a pivotal moment in the band’s career. Never content to rest on their street-cred laurels, Sheer Mag has been hard at work pushing their idiosyncratic take on rock to ever more soul-gripping, sonically compelling highs. “All Lined Up” perfectly renders the intensity of Sheer Mag’s commitment to songcraft, layering direct, delightfully sweet-turned-sour guitar licks and swirling call-and-response vocal hooks over a throbbing drumline, evoking the anxiously excited, contemporary-Studio-54-tinged thrill of not knowing exactly what you just took, but feeling assured that—whatever it is—the night is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
The song, and accompanying video, peddles in themes of high-risk anticipation and the bleary-eyed romance of a late night spent amongst old friends, distilling Sheer Mag’s patent ability to access universal human emotions through small-time tales of after-hours city life. As the band puts it, “The genesis of ‘All Lined Up’ stems from late nights at the bar playing pool. Last call has long come and gone, the gate is down, the ashtrays are out and your friend behind the bar is giving it all away. Despite the revelry, there’s a looming sense of dread—a fear that no matter how far ahead you get, all it takes is one bad shot to lose the game.”