A few things you need to know about Jason Brody, the mind and voice behind At Sea: He’s a native New Yorker who everyone assumes is from California. He spent years battling stage fright (though now you’d never know it). And he once killed himself to make better music—figuratively. More on that in a minute.
All of those aspects, and many more, play a role in At Sea. Listening to the Brooklyn band, you’ll hear both the familiar and the unexpected. It’s melodic, equal parts moody electronics and big guitars, with lyrics both personal and quietly political. The music conjures up everyone from the likes of Jeff Buckley to Doves to Death Cab for Cutie, without really sounding like any of them.
“I like the idea of songs having a lot of dynamics,” says Brody, At Sea’s songwriter and frontman. “These songs have peaks and valleys, and they rise and fall on their own. I think there’s a dramatic vibe to the music that people will respond to.
The name “At Sea” implies an ongoing journey. Brody’s trek, like his music, has its own dynamic twists and turns. The son of two deaf parents, Brody spent his youth taking piano lessons foisted on him by his grandmother. In his teens, he insisted on switching to the guitar. He also started sneaking into New York clubs, dramatically redefining and expanding his musical palette. Early on, he battled acute stage fright, even when fronting a band in high school (he refused to sing in public—a condition he now admits he’s dealt with, to which any recent live At Sea show can attest). But by 18, he was playing guitar in an experimental noise band.
“That was weird,” he says. “I naturally gravitate toward melody, but I really wanted to be challenged and taken out of my comfort zone.”
Still, after deciding he “didn’t want to be a guitarist in another person’s band,” Brody went solo. As a “singer-songwriter,” (a term that continues to baffle him) he released a record under his own name and developed a local following, earning more than a few (appropriate) Jeff Buckley comparisons. But the singer found his success musically limiting. “I was getting inspired by things like The Postal Service, Muse, and even The Shins, and I wanted to add electronic elements and a little rock ’n’ roll swagger to my sound,” he explains. “But you hear ‘guitar-playing male singer-songwriter,’ and right away you have a preconceived idea about what that entails.” His solution? “Kill” his persona and rename his project The Death of Jason Brody. It was a clever idea, but ultimately too confusing for both him and his audience. Thus, At Sea was born.
While still part of his ongoing musical quest, At Sea finds Brody both finding his voice and exploring new sounds—and also solidifying a strong new lineup, one that now includes Berklee alum and ex-Phenomenal Handclap Band bassist Pier Paolo Pappalardo, and Italian-born drummer Stefano Baldasseroni, who has toured the world many times over, playing with The Grandmothers, (successor to Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention), the renowned actor Giancarlo Giannini, and many others. Tracks like “Everything Looks Better in the Dark” amp up the guitars and tempo, while “They Won’t Find Us (Panic Room)” (which the singer literally wrote while taking the train over the Williamsburg Bridge) explores the singer’s new fascination with synths and keyboards. “I think we toe the line between the familiar—in a nice way—and stepping into other textures,” Brody says.
Lyrically, the songs feature an apocalyptic undertone, inspired by the recent spate of natural disasters, the Occupy Wall Street movement (on tracks like “A New Machine”), and the continued whitewashing of New York’s culture. It’s Brody’s attempt to inject a little substance into the modern musical climate. “Now there's so much music out there and it’s so easy to get to,” he says. “But it’s also easy to forget that any music we make and listen to was inspired by music that was made from a more political and reactionary point of view. There was an intent behind it all that’s no longer there.”
Interestingly, At Sea sometimes finds itself at odds with its own hometown. “People hear us and think we’re from the West Coast. We’re sort of outsiders in the ‘scene’ here, at least as far as finding like-minded bands or music venues,” Brody admits. “I remember the last time we played at one of our favorite regular venues in Brooklyn, we played before an instrumental-only band wearing Chinese rice-picking hats that rocked out on keytars. That’s really not our thing/vibe at all.”
“But that’s ok,” he adds. “If there’s anything I’ve learned, there’s room for everyone here. You just have to chart your own course.”
Pier Paolo Pappalardo - Bass
Stefano Baldasseroni - Drums
Jason Brody - production., vocals & guitar, synths/keyboards
AT SEA put out the full-length album A NEW MACHINE via CEN/RED Distribution on September 25, 2012. The week of release it was named as a "New and Noteworthy" pick on iTunes in the Alternative genre. It has and continues to garner great reviews (see press page).
Before that, RED distributed a series of extended two-song digital singles from AT SEA via iTunes and other online outlets:
"Everything Looks Better in the Dark" released on 8/23/11
"Something in the Way" released on 9/20/11
"Burning in His Skin" released in November 2011
AT SEA released its debut EP in the fall of 2009. It is streaming at atseamusic.com, on Facebook, here on Sonicbids, and on various other fansites.
Current live tracks are also streaming.
The video for the song "Low Light" (on the 2009 self-titled EP) is streaming on YouTube and in HD on Vimeo.
Something In the Way
Burning In His Skin_FINALmastrdnew hires mp3
These Stolen Hours_FINALmasterdnew hires mp3
There Were Happier Ways to Go
A Long, Long Night
Everything Looks Better in the Dark
New York Times, "Anarchists in the Aisles," December 24, 2007
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EXCERPTED FROM FULL ARTICLE: Jason Brody, lead singer for an independent pop-rock band in the East ...EXCERPTED FROM FULL ARTICLE:
Jason Brody, lead singer for an independent pop-rock band in the East Village, said his group recently altered its shopdropping tactics to cater to the holiday rush.
Normally the band, the Death of Jason Brody, slips promotional CD singles between the pages of The Village Voice newspaper and into the racks at large music stores. But lately, band members have been slipping into department stores and putting stickers with logos for trendy designers like Diesel, John Varvatos and 7 for All Mankind on their CDs, which they then slip into the pockets of designer jeans or place on counters.
“Bloomingdale’s and 7 for All Mankind present the Death of Jason Brody, our pick for New York band to watch in 2008,” read a sticker on one of the CDs placed near a register at Bloomingdales. “As thanks for trying us on, we’re giving you this special holiday gift.” Bloomingdales and 7 for All Mankind declined to comment.
Big Takeover review, Issue #61, Fall 2007
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This New York foursome's moniker is not a reference to anything morbid, but to singer/songwriter Bro...This New York foursome's moniker is not a reference to anything morbid, but to singer/songwriter Brody's decision to jettison his former solo career in favor of a full-band approach. His presence is still at the forefront here, but his formidable ensemble now complements his pleasant, falsetto-tinged pop/soul crooning with bright and airy arrangements. Perhaps it is the two relatively brisk tunes that bookend this six-song EP (the superb "Call Off Your Dogs" and "Bitter Pill"), and the more amplified "Vanity," that show off his band's talents better. But when the group plays quieter, Brody's aching, forlorn lyrics are more laid out and bare, successfully evoking the "overwhelming sense of longing" that the group's bio suggests.
Left Hip magazine review, Fall 2007
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The Death of Jason Brody is a guitar-driven classic indie-rock meets radio-friendly pop foursome fro...The Death of Jason Brody is a guitar-driven classic indie-rock meets radio-friendly pop foursome from New York City. The pretty, drony guitar riffs recall bands from the bygone days of indie rock - Versus, while the vocals sound more contemporary - the Shins might be a close comparison.
The band takes a turn away from the classic indie rock sound on "Midnight Stroll", where they bust out some 8-bit blips and bleeps and drum machines to good effect. Interesting production makes this song one of the short album's highlights - others include the opening track "Call Off Your Dogs" and the well-written and particularly melodious "Bitter Pill", with flowing melodies reminiscent of those of the Shins' James Mercer. The song benefits from particularly beautiful layered guitar riffs that bring the album to an explosive finish and also evokes comparisons to classic Elvis Costello.
Overall, a nice debut effort that will appeal to fans of classic poppy indie-rock and guitar pop.
On Tap magazine review, September 2007
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The Death of Jason Brody formed in 2006 after Jason Brody took a musical hiatus, which ultimately sp...The Death of Jason Brody formed in 2006 after Jason Brody took a musical hiatus, which ultimately spawned the New York City-based foursome. TDOJB does stand out in a sea of monotony, however it stops just short of home plate. For starters, vocalist Jason Brody mumbles the lyrics. His voice may be distinct, but it apparently lacks the ability to annunciate. Conversely, the lyrics are very good. “Broken,” a mellow track about a breakup, is completely relatable without being a pop-cliché. If Brody would only clear his throat, it might be addictive. Still, very noteworthy.
The Deli review, Issue #11, Fall 2007
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Comparable to tear-stained type on the pages of a hand written eulogy, The Death of Jason Brody is a...Comparable to tear-stained type on the pages of a hand written eulogy, The Death of Jason Brody is a reminiscent collection of songs that sounds best during those moments where leafing through the calendar backwards, recounting the days that were, and wondering if they will ever be the same again seem like the only thing to do. On their latest EP, the NYC quartet, fronted, conveniently, by Brody, pays homage to an era when agreeable acts like Toad the Wet Sprocket and The Gin Blossoms ironed out grunge scene flannel with introspective lyrics and a real appreciation for the hook. And while the band's nostalgic modern rock certainly sounds familiar, The Death of Jason Brody's music also brims with its own artistic uniqueness. Exploring lust, disconnect, boozy nights, and a sense of longing, Brody never really sounds completely happy with the decisions he has made. Like the loved ones of someone who has recently passed, Brody seems as if he is trying to put what haunts him in the rearview mirror.
The Deli blog post, August 2007
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Buzzworthy pop rockers, The Death of Jason Brody, just booked themselves into one of New York City's...Buzzworthy pop rockers, The Death of Jason Brody, just booked themselves into one of New York City's favorite little venues The Mercury Lounge (217 E. Houston at Ave A). Their gig, which is on August 15th (just so you know thats a Wednesday - figured I would save you the trouble of consulting your calendar), promises to be a launching point for this band getting ready to break. Besides the great tunes, there is going to be some rare The Death of Jason Brody swag to score at the show, including limited edition t-shirts (sorry fellas, ladies only at the moment) and other assorted doodads and prizes. So march yourself on down to the Mercury and pay the scant $10 cover charge to see a band everyone is going to be talking about in no time. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Indie-Music.com review, October 2006
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This is a fortune-teller’s idea of a band name. Former solo artist Jason Brody has put together a ba...This is a fortune-teller’s idea of a band name. Former solo artist Jason Brody has put together a band and is drawing the Death card on his former career. As my copy of Tarot for Dummies explains it, that means the rebirth of something new. In this case, it’s a lush, seductive sound that can best be described as a martini on a dark, full-moon evening. It’s also a bit of high-energy rock -- the first track, “Call off Your Dogs,” is pretty upbeat for a dead guy.
Brody’s strengths have always been the high notes and the harmonies. With a full band, those vocals have more life. We don’t get last names on any of these people, but bassist Geoff, guitarist/keyboardist Cary, and percussionist Jeff team up with Brody for a sensual, sophisticated sound that kicks up a notch the vibe I fell in love with on Brody’s solo work. “Siren Song” is a perfect example. It’s a dreamy, ethereal pop ballad that just makes me want to grow wings and fly into a starry night. Over New York City. It’s that inviting.
The band works its own experimentation into the music. On the musically-ominous “Midnight Stroll,” the guitars seem to “bong” like church bells ringing a death toll, which makes the romantic lyrics sound a little more like something being said by a vampire:
Hope to see you again
I’m already there
Won’t be long now, I’ll come out
To watch the light in your eyes
The look of surprise
My blood starts to rise
I can hardly wait ‘til our midnight stroll
I’ll be outside waiting on you
After all I’m only animal
And curious ...
The band also experiments with an avant-garde kick on “Vanity,” which contains the intriguing line, “I need a little vanity, want some of your ecstasy.” But no matter where this band roams, they envelop the sound with mystery and those gorgeous harmonies. I especially like how a string section is woven into the introspective ballad “Broken.”
This new band hasn’t really killed off the solo star. They’ve just absorbed his essence and created something more daring out of it. You’ll leave the funeral with a mellow vibe, a smile, and a Tarot card in your pocket.
by Jennifer Layton
EarMedicine.com review, October 2006
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"Everything dies baby that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back." ..."Everything dies baby that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back."
- Bruce Springsteen
Don't be fooled my friends, Jason Brody is very much alive. Just that in a musical sense he now comes in band form. The solo model has been discontinued. Besides, would The Boss lie?
N.Y. City's Brody has already shown on 2003s To The Quick what he is capable of, just now he is fleshing out his sound with the help of his pals. "So what" you might ask? Well this new set up certainly puts a much tighter groove into his songs which makes for a much more instant appeal.
This self titled mini-album literally smacks you in the face and demands to be listened to. Opener 'Call Off Your Dogs' packs a punch both musically and lyrically, giving, it seems, those supposedly in charge a not too friendly warning to take a hike.
Having first appeared on his solo album, 'Midnight Stroll' gets a welcome reprise here in full band mode. Though I have never been to New York in my life, Brody has the ability to put you right on the sidewalk of the city that never sleeps.
Though what nails it is final track 'Bitter Pill' which sees the band change gears to a slightly laid back feel that is reminiscent of The Gin Blossoms at their peak. If there are more songs like this up their sleeve then The Death Of Jason Brody have a long life ahead of them.
Luna Kafe ezine review, August 2007
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Jason Brody has released an impeccable solo record solo and now he's formed a group. Death means not...Jason Brody has released an impeccable solo record solo and now he's formed a group. Death means not just the end as in the tarot deck, but also a new beginning.
The debut mini-album sees the foursome as a tightly knit unit. "Call Off Your Dogs" is sweet and urgent, Brody's special voice at its finest. "Siren Song" is softer but has an evocative lead vocal and a nice melody. "Broken" is a sad and poignant breakup song where Brody's unique talent is fully unveiled.
This release makes a nice staring point for the band. The death of Jason Brody hopefully has a long life head of them.
Indie-Music.com Top 25 Indie Albums of 2006, December 2006
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The Death of Jason Brody's self-titled EP was named one of Indie-Music.com's Top 25 Indie Albums of ...The Death of Jason Brody's self-titled EP was named one of Indie-Music.com's Top 25 Indie Albums of 2006 in their year-end music roundup.
Generally AT SEA's sets consist of about 8 songs/40-45 minutes of music.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.