Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
There's a great, moaning fear slithering and lurking through the tiny, unreadable roadways of Philadelphia band The A-Sides' sophomore full-length Silver Storms that feels like the comfortable seat on the sofa - the one that gets ceremoniously chosen through habit, by the most people and is therefore sunken, but worked in to universally accepted levels of slouchability. It's one of those fears that we still let rest up against the shuddering and maddening waves of our heartbeat, like the best T-shirt in our closets, the one with the wear marks and the pit stains, but the soft touch and sentimental reasons keep us from pitching it with the orange rinds, the empty toothpaste tubes and pizza boxes. It stays in our rotation because of an invisible, yet undeniable hold it has over us - a gravitational pull that's there whether we like it or despise it.
One of the ways to understand this fear - and something that can make you feel like an insignificant little raisin - is to observe all of the people and the houses along an interstate. Now picture the people that live in just one of those many endless houses in one of the many endless neighborhoods that can go flying past you. Imagine what they do for livings, imagine how many children they have, imagine what they do for fun, imagine the many relatives that they have throughout the world who know them, imagine how little they know about the people who live right next door to them, imagine how they have always wondered what the neighbors do for a living, imagine them thinking that their neighbors are dicks, imagine that they live as a family, but more than that, they live alone, anonymous to everyone outside of that house. Just to sit where you are and to think about the people that are closest in proximity to your chair - the others in the computer lab, the cafe, the coffeehouse, your kitchen or study, the house that borders yours, the person a quarter of a mile down the road in the next farmhouse over, your roommate, your wife - and exactly how much you've made an impression on them probably knocks you down a few pegs. It probably makes you think that you've got some work to do. If it doesn't, then kudos. Even if that's the case, think about whether or not those people you've impressed have ever shared your greatness (or whatever it can be called) with another living soul. If they haven't - the most likely possibility - then your legacy, our legacy, has stopped at one and when we're gone, we're gone.
It's depressing in a way, but it is how most people enter and exit this thing. There's never much of a carry-on or a sustainable momentum to remembering those who came before us. Memories live on so indefinitely and sometimes the moments of silence are a moment too long. The A-Sides and more to the point - lead singer and songwriter Jon Barthmus - seems to address this flittering form or legacy often in the songs on Silver Storms, an album that feels like a dark, upset night sky without the big and loud thundering proclamations and revolts. It lays it out cool and calm and with hushed pop tones that can make you friends in a hurry, for they're unthreatening and rational, everything a friend seeker would be looking for. Barthmus makes a plea to someone to say something memorable, worthy of the new edition of Bartlett's or a screenplay and a silver screen in "Cinematic" or else risk being forever a tragic figure that will never last, will never persevere through the decades or even just a little longer. It's about finding your space and yet not just fitting in, but trying to make that square peg pound through and fit into that round hole. He insists that all of his heroes have always been crazy and maybe that's just a perception. They were crazy for their differences from the rest of the norm, but it's the craziness that made them right for hero worship in the first place - no craziness just makes them the guys that lived once.