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The Convocation

Tonie Joy -- a man with an illustrious resume that includes service time in no less than four seminal (though short-lived) avant-punk outfits: Moss Icon, Universal Order Of Armageddon, Great Unraveling (all of which he helped found), and Born Against. Joy also started the notorious Vermin Scum label. For The Convocation Of..., he teamed with bass prodigy Guy Blakeslee (formerly of Behind Closed Doors) and drum savant George France to form a punk rock trio unlike any you've heard before. This band is immediately set apart by the quality of its musicianship and the sophistication of its members' instrumental interplay. Joy's guitar playing is nothing short of inspiring, a boring needle-nosed sound regularly made even more menacing by a bevy of effects. France's polyrhythmic drumming sometimes borders on jazz complexity and Blakeslee's loose, busy, downtuned bass provides an effective low-end. Occasionally Joy's amelodic yowl joins the instrumental workouts, uttering cryptic, nervous lyrics that bring the music's complex tension up yet another notch.

The Convocation Of... released their first self-titled LP on GSL in late 2000. A year later, they came back with a follow-up, Pyramid Technology (Tiger Style), which saw the trio moving increasingly toward Blue Cheer-inspired heavy-duty psychedelia, while retaining the fierce, complex agit-punk style that distinguished their debut.

Blakeslee left the band in 2002 to form The Entrance Band, and was replaced by a string of bassists (Jason Stevens, Chris Camden, and Matt Hall) until they settled down with Donny Van Zandt, an early member of Pinback. A self-titled 7" was released on Gravity Records in 2009, and more should be on the way.