If the DNA of rock-and-roll is essentially a double helix of ecstasy and angst, Sheer Mag is a rock-and-roll band. Generous with melody and unconcerned with clarity, the young Philadelphia quintet often sounds like it’s trying to siphon an entire Thin Lizzy concert through a broken earbud.

But you can still hear the low hum of desperation lurking in the band’s most sunshiney cut, “Fan The Flames,” a gem of a song where the guitars jiggle and buzz, while the lyrics lash out against an exploitative landlord. “We pay him our rent to have a hole in our roof,” vocalist Christina Halladay wails in the first verse, “and when our neighbors burned, it was only because of telephone cords.” She’s counting the days before “the yuppies push us out.”

In an era when so many American cities are being radically refurbished in thoughtless ways, it’s exciting to hear such furious protest smuggled into a feel-good rock song. And ultimately, Sheer Mag has its priorities straight. How could anyone feel good when their neighborhood is being sold to the highest bidder?

Sheer Mag, with Downtown Boys on Thursday at DC9. Show starts at 8 p.m. 202-483-5000. www.dcnine.com. $12.