“This album was written outside of movie theaters and on grandparents farms, in libraries and public parks, in basements and on beaches. For two years, the margins of our lives were completely filled in with the bits and pieces of what would become Silver Storms.” – Jon Barthmus
In Philadelphia, they don’t get many big waves. But recently, they’ve been getting a little bit closer. The A-Sides suggest the ocean, the clouds, love, fury, life and death, with a sound that’s like sunshine on your arms, seeping in right after the biggest waves in the world have torn you down.
The A-Sides second full-length album (and first for Vagrant, 8/28/07) is called Silver Storms. It’s got a big sound, a heap of tenderness, and advice for those of us that need it. From the track “Cinematic”: “Oh say something cinematic, or become a tragic figure who never, ever says something to remember.”
Now that is good advice.
To make a long story a little bit shorter, The A-Sides three founding members Jon Barthmus (vocals, guitar, keys), Mike Fleming (bass, vocals) and Patrick Marsceill (drums, vocals) met while attending Drexel University and formed the band over five years ago. It’s amazing how you can end up somewhere completely different than where you started. The A-Sides early days may have been comprised of studying and emulating the pop genius of the Beatles and Beach Boys but after the recording of their first album, Hello, Hello, they had graduated the course.
The addition of Charlie Cottone (guitar) and Christopher Doyle (keyboards, guitar) only reinforced what the other members already knew: This was becoming something entirely different. It may be impossible to not be influenced by anything but writing Silver Storms was about transcending influences and letting musical imaginations run wild, striving to make something relevant in a world where so much of what one hears is utterly disposable.
“In writing and recording this album we definitely came into our own and defined our roles in the band. We gained a better understanding of who we are and what we want to do with music,” says Barthmus.
Silver Storms was produced by Brian McTear (Mazarin, Danielson, Espers) and runs the gamut, from reflective numbers like “My Heroes Have Always Been Crazy” to all-out burners like “We’re the Trees.” The album was recorded looking out of giant windows on the city of brotherly love as the days were getting longer and spring was turning into summer.
Philadelphia may not become beachfront property any time soon but for now they’ve got the romance, adventure, and warmth of The A-Sides and Silver Storms.