Vancouver-based The Pack a.d. is Becky Black on guitar and vocals and Maya Miller on drums. They share a blues backbone with other well-known guitar-drums duos, such as The Black Keys, White Stripes, and Left Lane Cruiser–but the Pack also has the muscle to bring its ruckus closer to melodic Stooges and X territory. I was going to say they pack more of a punch, but I waited until the next sentence.

Unpersons is their fourth album. They’re already getting their deserved accolades in Canada, but they’re still translating in America. The Pack has grown from a band that gets by mostly on energy, like Two Cow (or most young people), into a confident, harnessed train wreck. Between Black’s vocals and Miller’s beats, the music emerges as a sludgy mix of ghost rock and droid funk. If The Pack a.d. played the cantina band in Star Wars, it would’ve actually been a menacing scene. Picture it set to:

I know your pain and share your pain,
let’s have soup together.
I’ll lift a rock and kill the world,
then we’ll have lunch.
~ from the song “8”

Unpersons has been out for a few months, but if you’re just getting it now, it’ll make a great companion listen to the new Black Keys album. That’s not fair, though–the album stands on its own, the Pack is not just another garage-blues duo, it’s one of the best, it’s pushing that loose sound in its own direction. It’s a feat to make hard-driving rock feel desolate, simultaneously woodsy and industrial. They’re also like The Who.

The Pack A.D. – Positronic
The Pack A.D. – 8
The Pack A.D. – Seasick

Buy Unpersons from the mighty Mint Records on vinyl, CD, or digital. American distribution here. Buy it on iTunes. On Amazon. The Pack a.d.’s website. The Pack on Spotify. The Pack on Facebook.

Author: Mike Ostrov

Mike Ostrov relays the history of popular song on message boards and under rocks.