Friday, September 13, 2013

The Pack A.D. Plays Some Sssongs

The Pack a.d.
The garage rock duo The Pack A.D. has been firing up blues-infused punk out of Vancouver for the better part of eight years. In the process, they've readily amassed an arsenal of tracks with several charting in Canada while being largely passed by in the U.S.

There aren't any real good reasons for the oversight. The duo, consisting of Becky Black and Maya Miller, are frequently slated in "sounds like" and then summarily dismissed. But then a few weeks go by and some new band that "sounds like" the same bands is heralded as the next best thing.

Maybe that will change with the release of Some Sssongs a few days ago. The EP is really a single, Battering Ram, couched with four other tracks that have been previously released. The plus side is all four add-ons make for a perfect sampler, especially if you haven't heard of The Pack A.D. before.

Battering Ram is a blistering single from The Pack A.D.

Battering Ram is a raucous rock number, painting a portrait of back alley bars and underground venues. It's dark, loud and straightforward with exception to a ballad breakdown close to the end of the song.

The premise is one of preparedness, basically saying that the world is a tough place but these girls have something to protect themselves. It doesn't matter what you throw at them. If there is any truth to a fight or flee response, these are two women who stand their ground. The video has an extended introduction.

Produced by director Lloyd Lee Choi (who also shot videos for Positronic and Sirens), the video aims to capture the gritty side of the underground scene. There is a little bit of everything: fire breathers, brawls and bad attitudes.

Choi didn't need a set to bring the vision to life. The video was shot at the Anza Club in Vancouver. He just dressed it up with lighting and beautifully cast characters. It makes for a memorable introduction to the first track off the band's upcoming album in January, Do Not Engage.

A look back at the past tracks included on the Some Sssongs EP.

Along with Battering Ram, the EP includes Sirens, Haunt You, and Positronic from their fourth album Unpersons. Deer was originally released on We Kill Computers one year earlier. Even if you have heard them before, the compilation and arrangement allude to the notion that Do Not Engage will be their best yet.

The re-release of these four tracks has also brought new life to the Positronic video also shot by Choi last year. The video, released in December, was the one Nettwerk Records opted to tie to signing the band. It was a good choice, given the grisly incarnation of the duo consisting of two tough-as-nails women.

For some time now, The Pack A.D. has been considered one of the most boiling over rock duos in the business. With the new album slated for January and a solid single being teased out months ahead of the album, maybe this really is the breakout that they've been waiting for.

Personally, I've appreciated their talent for some time. Not only did Unpersons have plenty of high points in 2011, re-recording the tracks Sirens and Seasick in French added a twist that few bands can pull off. French isn't nearly as rock friendly as other languages, but The Pack A.D. sounds brilliant.

Some Sssongs By The Pack A.D. Break 7.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Over the years, Black and Miller have done an excellent job expanding their original sound to include more diversity, everything from pseudo-gaze to stoner rock. I like them best with their blues-punk sensibilities, killing it with a menacing howls, humming guitar and heavy percussion. It's exhausting and exhilarating as they run down any set list.

Some Sssongs was released on Amazon or you can download it from iTunes. The band is currently touring in Canada, but will be dropping down to Los Angeles in October. They have two gigs booked and are part of the upcoming Culture Collide Festival. You can check their schedule on Facebook.
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