Agents of Karma
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Agents of Karma

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Alternative Rock

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As I prepared to listen to the agents of Karma 9-11 remembrance performance in downtown NYC, There were no cameras, no politicians, no Fox News spin, just raw emotion by New Yorkers and a burning question why???

Perhaps the biggest way to answer that question is to scream it from the roof tops and as long as A.O.K. is around then perhaps questions will always be asked. Not content to get up on stage and play one 3 min. un-conscious song after another, the entire set seemed to move and vibrate with the passion of each band member... Agents of Karma are
Jay Cavanaugh (Bass & Lead Vocals), Conrad Sparnroft (Guitar) and Joe Miele (Drums) Three New Yorker’s with something to say, and in this instance everyone in the club was listening. The A.O.K. sound was deep dark and heavy even stinging at times punctuated by Jay’s throbbing bass lines, recalling Entwistle or John Paul Jones, the low end moved and pulsated and set the foundation on which the nights statement would be made. The Groove was kept nicely by Joe, a heartbeat for a conscious mind, coupled with Conrad’s explosive guitar playing how could u not sit up and notice? After the first two songs you knew this wasn’t going to be an “ordinary” set... And it wasn’t…

Songs like Rage of Angels, Freedom of Choice, Fascism for the Home and Rock Your Vote, were as politically and musically charged as they sound. Throughout the night A.O.K. led the audience to awareness like new-age pied-pipers. Rocking and Rolling the minds of the audience with strong music and stronger words. Now I could go into detail about which songs they played, how long or what each song meant but if I have to do that then you probably haven’t heard A.O.K. before and describing those things is meaningless, because they (individual songs) are not what an A.O.K. show is… It is not a “song” or a “set” but a voice... a transcendent combination of politically conscious lyrics and hard rocking music that hasn’t existed outside of coffee shops since the 60’s and if you haven’t experienced it yet then you need to. A.O.K. is the real deal and everyone should see them. I’m sure glad I did...

- Reviewed by KWESI SMITH
- Newspaper Taxi


A phaser-soaked bass guitar thrusts the melody out into the audience;
pounded out with all the fury and flash of a prom date scorned.

Indeed, as the bassist cues off the sharp clap of snare and hi-hat; lets the warm and full drone of the guitar's first set of chords soak in; and cuts to the lead vocal of the opening song, "One Man's Trash", he looks like he should be wearing a tattered tuxedo. Watching their set at the C-Note on New York's Lower East Side, I thought: Agents of Karma is a powerhouse trio. Each band member strung together loosely enough to breath, yet dancing around a tightly wound core of song craft, musicianship and rock n roll energy.

Part classic alternative rock of the 80's and early 90's with bands like Jane's Addiction or Bauhaus; part groove and edgy funk circa 1968, like Joe Walsh's James Gang; part pure timeless rock + roll, A.O.K. has a sound that is all their own. Jay Cavanaugh threads the rhythm on thick bass lines accented with tender melodies, as he alternates between duties as bassist and lead vocalist. Just when I was thinking what a great bass player he is, he transforms back into a singer with cutting lyrical delivery and focused energy. Cavanaugh's lines of poetry are at times, humorously polemical in lines like "Fascism for the home" and at other times romantically wistful and almost dream-like.
In every song the melody hangs loosely off each player, while the core keeps them fused to the droning slant-6 engine of the rhythm and vocals.

At times they play off each other with the subtlety of jazz musicians; now drummer, now lead guitarist blasts through the wall. And yet the audience knows only good can come from this ferocity. The Drummer, Joe Miele, dances in and around the beat, from delicate touches and intricate rhythmic stylings to the boom-slap of classic rock n roll. The band's implausible transitions between the dreamy and the bombastic are carried off seamlessly by the lead guitarist, Conrad Sparnroft, who knows when to ride, when to get off and when to drive straight over the bridge. Capable of shredding a melody to pieces, this guitarist carries each song to its loftiest heights without breaking it up. He cranks it, contorts it, mocks it with gadgetry, even shreds it completely, but, as a symbol for the band as a whole, he always returns to the rock n roll heart of the song, which is what audiences to will come back for!

- Reviewed by Joel R. Griffin - Independent


Gus G1 MIDI user Conrad Sparnroft has sent me a copy of his New York based bands (AOK) new album. Eponymously titled 'Agents of Karma' the CD is a slickly produced piece of work with some great performances from the three piece's of Conrad Sparnroft (guitar), Jay Cavanaugh (bass and vocals) and Joe Miele on (drums.)

Unusually in these days when a good many bands' influences seem all too obvious, AOK seem to defy pigeon-holing; though Conrad once described the band to me as "Cream meets the Police", which goes some way towards describing their unique sound. The eleven tracks on the album are a fascinating mix and keep a listener hooked, following the ups
and downs of tempo and mood.

Conrad is a highly accomplished player, not afraid to experiment with the new or unusual - perhaps the reason why he was intrigued by the G1 in the first place. As he also once told me, he has a "semi-disregard for convention" - a claim that I'm fully in support of! - GUS Guitar's


"Punk rock is mostly dead. Stereotypically, punk rock is loud, guitar-bashing, liberty-spikes, chains, black leather, snarls and bad attitudes. But look deeper and there
is more to punk. Its not just anti-establishment and anarchists rioting. Its people expressing themselves through their own brand of music that is fresh and free of labels.
Its political, its personal, its unapologetic, its a middle-finger, its the truth. Its Agents of Karma.

Just to give you some kind of clue as to what in the hell these guys sound like: mix equal parts Peter Murphy and Public Image Limited, a heaping helping of The Clash and a pinch of
Franz Ferdinand and youve got the recipe for Agents of Karma. Jays lyrics are as inquisitive as they are inspiring and his singing voice is not to be reproduced no one else sings, wails or howls like him. Joe is a monster percussionist whose complex sense of rhythm and timing are perfection (and to be envied by other percussionists like me) and he
can keep up with Jays bass! Conrads shreds his ax like theres no tomorrow, but he also knows when to back off. His back-up singing compliments Jays voice in such an uncanny way, its as if they were meant to be partnered in music. The three Agents make one dynamic rock
band that has real potential to bring originality and life back to punk rock.

- Amber Brien


Discography

Agents of Karma has independently released thier first CD titled Agents of Karma on June 22nd 2007

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Bio

What's Karma got to do with it? Good question, I suppose if you're a believer in such
things, Karma has everything to do with it. The Urban Dictionary defines an Agent of Karma
as; {Someone who is sick of waiting for others to get what is coming to them, and by
becoming an "Agent of Karma", they then bring the consequences upon the other
person themselves. Classification as the "Agent of Karma" makes it so that you are then not eligible for any bad karma to then be returned onto you.} I guess you can say that this band has decided not to wait for others to create the kind of Rock they want to hear! The band name Agents of Karma has a life of it's own, and the fortuitous acronym A.O.K. was a happy accident. Agents of Karma rose from the ashes of Jay Cavanaugh and Conrad Sparnroft's former association as members of the alternative band Gray Zone. After years apart, Conrad exploring other bands and Jay exploring stage and film acting, they embarked on a new project. And like rebellion fomenting in the belly, the ferocity of their new sound could not be contained. So AOK stormed the Bastille and released the music to the people. Along with the Rock solid drumming, percussion, vocals and sampling of Patrick Conlon the man for all seasons, AOK is a force of nature. Three refugee's from the pigeon hole prison where sounding like everyone else is the norm. A squad of escape artists from the confines of Tribute band hell, manipulating the straight jacket of conformity while dunked in the water's of mediocrity. Man, it ain't easy being Houdini, Nikola Tesla + Buckminster Fuller all rolled into one ball of high energy plasma, but it sure is fun. Agents of Karma is hard edged, but inquisitive and politically aware at the same time. It's music ebbs n flows like morning and evening tides. The Yin and Yang of give and take are always present, they support each other and give space. But when it's time to join together and bring it home they're like an insane cab driver getting you to the airport with seconds to spare. AOK, the Zen Tricksters of musical plagiarism as a form of compliment. Which might explain why AOK gets compared to many diverse recording artists. That's because AOK is retro with respect. A combination of Street Wise Irony, Spirituality, Sex, Relationships + Politics. And like the urban cowboys they are, these 3 unsung hero's will drive off into the sunset (Most likely Route 80 West) in search of an answer to the ultimate musical question. (Why do we play?) IE: To find out you have to come to a gig :)