Philadelphia’s Sheer Mag has been grinding out classic rock and punk-tinged tracks since the 2014 unleashing of their debut 7-inch. An EP a followed a year later, earning them a number of devotees, until the recent release of their full debut album, Need To Feel Your Love. For its release, Sheer Mag has held fast to an independent mindset that’s seen them shun labels as significant as Rough Trade and Merge in favor of a self-release on their own imprint, Wilsuns RC.
The writing team of rhythm guitarist/lyricist Matt Palmer and lead singer Tina Halladay has proven to be a formidable combination. Halladay’s voice is a powerhouse, a squall of grit and fervor. Beneath her unrestrained howls, electric energy thrums through instant-classic guitar lines that fall somewhere between jubilant and yearning, in lockstep with pinpoint percussion work. Drummer Ian Dykstra and the Seely brothers, Kyle and Hart (lead guitar and bass, respectively) are the motor of this chugging engine that propels the band.
Songs rooted in an enduring belief in love pair nicely with the band’s rage at injustice of all kinds, spanning history and geography. Their punk influences and relentless, deep-groove style are well suited to righteous fury — the teeth-gnashing frustration that comes with watching the country’s gradual ascent towards justice stumble and fall. Sheer Mag is certainly a band for our times. Post-postmodernism, post-irony, post-election, we find ourselves appraising what really matters. This independent and earnest band has tapped into that vein with heartfelt abandon, which we’re sure to see at their headlining performance September 29 at The Chapel.
Rising stars Tenement operate in a similar space-punk authenticity and exuberance interwoven with the riffing and singalong melodies of pop and classic rock. 2011’s Napalm Dream and The Blind Wink placed them firmly in the hardcore tradition. Since then, Tenement’s sound has expanded a bit beyond the average 2-minute, 30-second punk song to incorporate a broader range of influences. Later albums like Predatory Headlights and their most recent, the eponymous Tenement, seem to be more indebted to pop or classic rock, though the vocals still have that nasal punk twinge. No matter what phase of their discography you drop in on, Tenement’s music merits repeated listening. This 8th grade Palestinian English class would agree.
The opening act for this night of blisteringly loud and driving rock and roll will be Oakland’s Marbled Eye, who, judging from their Bandcamp EP, pursue a more angular, art-rock aesthetic. There’s something distinctly post-punk about it, though it resembles Parquet Courts or Cosmonauts more than Mission of Burma. It’s good to hear a technically competent and intriguing exploration of brooding noise pop from a local band. Don’t miss the opener for this one.
Sheer Mag, Tenement, Marbled Eye
September 29, 2017