Sheer Mag Shares “Playing Favorites,” Announces New Album

Sheer Mag has 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 (Third Man Records), Sheer Mag’s third full-length, the band capitalizes 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, shared today, 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.

Over a six-month stretch spanning the fall of 2022 to the winter of 2023, guitarist Kyle Seely and his brother Hart Seely (bass) set about tracking the instrumentals for the record, resetting their studio configuration each week in order to impose a more tailored, multi-session atmosphere upon the record’s acoustic landscape. Palmer rejoined vocalist Tina Halladay in Philadelphia the following spring to write and record the vocals for Playing Favorites, which depart rather markedly from the band’s prior material, placing an added emphasis on pronouncedly existential, interpersonal storytelling and ornate background harmonies. Reflecting upon the shift between this newest LP and the band’s previous material, Halladay notes: “Those first few records felt like a personal coming out party; they felt like they were an introduction to me and my life story. With these new songs, I feel like I’m finally able to move past that—there are parts on this record that I couldn’t imagine being able to sing ten, five, or even three years ago.”

Sheer Mag Live Dates:

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