The Pack A.D.
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The Pack A.D.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Band Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Sled Island - Jalapeno Cheese Poppers Good"

Gritty Vancouver garage band duo The Pack A.D. made their Sled Island debut Friday night. While this group may be extremely minimalist (with only drums, a guitar and some raspy vocals) their sound is anything but soft. The group’s drummer Maya Miller spoke with The Reflector about their show at The Palomino.

The Reflector: Based on what I have read, your music is tough to conform to one genre. How do you view your style? Is it undefinable?
The Pack A.D.: Hmm, well if you ask some critics — it’s completely definable. Personally, I think it’s a little bit of everything or at least it’s really evolving into that. For instance, we’ve started recording our next album and it’s pretty, uh, heavy. I think we both bore very easily, and it’s only natural that the music is going to reflect our need to try new things and styles.

R: What can audiences expect from your show? What do you say to reviewers who call your style gritty and even frightening?
Pack: They will be terrified and they may pee themselves a little. On a serious note, an audience can expect to find the answer to life, a recipe long forgotten and perhaps a small poodle that they can turn in for a handsome reward. To reviewers, I say: ah, yes, but our fears only make us stronger.

R: How long have you been together? What’s the story of how you two came together?
P: Well you know it’s just one of life little gifts . . . we were both heavily involved in the quilting community three years ago and a project came up that we both unbeknownst to each other volunteered for. The project’s goal was to incorporate the color mauve and string beans into a cultural representation of Vancouver as depicted through the art of quilting. Well, honestly, we both just started chatting away while working on our sections and we just hit if off famously. Then, really, it was a just a hop skip from quilting to rock n’ roll. I think Becky really misses the simplicity of the quilt though.

R: Are you Sled Island rookies? How is your reception generally in this part of the country?
P: We are noobs. Don’t pone us. We think our reception is good, like with jalapeno cheese poppers good, though we have not played a show anywhere in Alberta since 2007. So, in which case, our reception could be bad like with jello and aspic. We’re aiming for somewhere in between, like with those little pizza bagels.

R: How and why did you get involved with Sled Island ‘09?
P: We are doing this because anyone worth anything wants to play this Festival — because Sled Island is hot. Plus, bonus, we get to see people we haven’t seen in a while and we can drink all we want because we won’t have the van with us. Oh, and also, I read that Zak (Pashak, festival organizer) plays Magic: the Gathering and we do too and we challenge him officially. The Pack is calling out Zak Pashak.

R: What’s coming up after Sled Island? What other projects are you working on?
P: BIG HUGE CANADA TOUR. Huge, because Canada is huge. We are touring Canada, starting with Edmonton on July 2 and ending with The Green Mountain Music Festival on Aug. 9th in Nanaimo.
In between those dates — we are playing every Canadian venue we can get our hands on.
But directly after Sled Island, we’re flying to Whitehorse to play the Sunstroke Festival. Woohoo, drinks with toes in them.

R: How was the show at the Palomino? Was the crowd really receptive to you guys?
P: I’d say the crowd was receptive, and kind’ve rowdy in a good natured way and all up in our grill kinda spilling onto the stage … translation: show good.

R: You guys seem to work in unison quite nicely? How did you work to develop that?
P: First, thanks. Second, er, we didn’t work at it. We just have always really um, worked well together. I think if we start trying to analyze it – it’ll lead to ruin.

R: Will you return for a future Sled Island?
P: Hells yes. But in the meantime — we’ll be back on Aug. 5th at Broken City. - The Reflector - July 2009 - Jeremy Nolais

"The Pack A.D. we kill computers"

It seems all of the world has been yammering about Canada and its wealth of shit-off awesome bands of late. I for one am begrudging, or to be more exacting, jealous. Fortunately, Canadians are admirably unselfish and have booted a fair few of their musical treasures off on a tour du monde. The Pack A.D. are currently traipsing all over Europe, steadily en route to Brighton for the Great Escape, the UK’s answer to SXSW. Which is Very Exciting (though granted only really if you are going).

It’s pretty easy to pigeonhole Pack A.D., much harder to describe in words just how much you need them in your life. A female garage/blues rock twosome from Vancouver, you could stick them in the same envelope as Japandroids, Black Keys, The Kills, and though it’d be stellar company to keep, stylistically it don’t quite do them justice. Their ferocity in delivery is a welcome fuck-you to the expectations for a girl group; their abandon in execution mighty alluring.

The Pack A.D., or The Pack After Death if you’re feeling verbose, consist of Becky Black, vox and guitar, and drummer Maya Miller. At times channelling the ghosts of the early Delta Bluesmen, Black wields terse guitar licks all the while chased howling down the tracks by the unconventional beats of Miller, who smashes them out like she was taught on a saucepan set by Animal his-self. It’s a huge sound from a sparse set up, an incredible pedal-to-the-metal jaw-dropping rock out.

Though renowned for their intense live shows, their recorded output lacks for nothing. Third album We Kill Computers is absolutely essential listening, with a raw simplicity as compelling as watching a bonfire blaze. They’ve taken a firmer hand this time around, casting aside just a little of their bluesy influences for a more adroit garage rock sound and with a little more melody in the mix. This album is the sound of a band getting better and better with every gutsy outing.

First single from the LP ‘Deer’ opens the album with a roar, a fractious, unsettling stomper before kicking into the early Green Day-esque ‘Everyone Looks Like Everyone’. Midway the album shows its tender side with a lullaby to deja vu in ‘They Know Me’ but it’s a brief lapse in pace, ‘K-Stomp’ applying cardiac paddles straight to your face until (frankly excellent) closer ‘The Last Martian’ draws an apt line under proceedings.

The Pack A.D. make you want to go out and drink a million beers while leaping about recklessly and spilling said beer all down your front. The Pack A.D. sound like they’d like to come and do that with you. Pack A.D. forever.

Words by Hannah Lanfear - 'Sup Magazine

"we kill computers - Album Review"

The Pack A.D. is an extremely tight duo which is extremely determined to hand your ass to you, track after track. Formed back in 2006, singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller have been doing what they do best, rocking lucky listeners' faces off. The group’s sound is definitely in-line with other duos such as The Black Keys and The White Stripes, but whereas those groups may tilt more towards the blues side of the scale, on We Kill Computers, the band’s third album, the focus is definitely on good ol’ fashioned rock and/or roll.

The album gets off to a ferocious start with “Deer,” a rollicking track featuring back and forth rhythm between the drums and guitar. The quick pace continues with the insanely fun song “Everyone Looks Like Everyone.” The Pack A.D. set their style early on with drums and guitar trading off leads only to come together and create a wall of rocking sound. This is quite apparent on tracks such as “1880,” “Big Anvil” and more.

The Pack A.D. are definitely not screwing around. They’re churning out simple, loud garage rock tracks with ease. The band does manage to slow things down a few times such as on “They Know Me” and not so coincidentally on “The Slow Down.” Tracks like these are necessary to break up the fast pace of We Kill Computers. The listeners do deserve a couple breaks from The Pack A.D.’s rock onslaught. And while the songs themselves may tend to blend together at first, repeated listens brings about a catchy, fiery intensity which too many bands lack nowadays.

by Greg Walker - Innocent Words Magazine

"The Pack a.d. we kill computers - Album review"

British Columbia is on fire. Trading the blues for Runaways’ style pop glamour, the Pack A.D. emerge a little flashier and heavier on the eyeliner. While they once sounded like the Canadian answer to the wounded blues howl of Ohio band the Black Keys, they now sound a lot more like glammed-up garage rock. Swing further out east, to Toronto, to find new connections. T.O’s Death From Above 1979 is more appropriate as a touchstone now. Tracks like “Catch” get hold of the sonic sheen of DFA1979’s near perfect “You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine,” and yet sound fresh.

We Kill Computers, released on Mint Records, is convulsively exciting. Raucous, even. They’ve pulled off a killer, riff-stunner of an album. Producer Jesse Gander handled the recording end of things, bringing a stronger presence to the tracks, and guitarist/singer Becky Black (Sabbath?!) has channeled a bigger, more authoritative charisma to match. There are still hints and traces of the old blues hollers (“The Slow Down” and “1880”), but these are the exceptions rather than the rules.

There are concerns. Imagine Jack White and Joan Jett spawning two riot girls – Becky Black and Maya Miller. There are vocal tracks that veer eerily close into White Stripes territory (“Everyone Looks Like Everyone” and “Cobra Matte”). It’s not so much a criticism as perhaps a worry that those kinds of stylistic tics could paint them as a one-trick pony. It would be a grave injustice since there’s conviction here, rather than mere imitation.

The standout track on this album, already full of great tunes, is “B.C. Is On Fire”. Guitars don’t so much power through as ignite in a shimmery, reverb-spiked Johnny Marr-like melodicism. Everything feels large, like they aimed for the skies this time around. The album should bring a wider audience to the Pack A.D., and hopefully they’ll catch some notice in the States this year.

The Pack A.D. tour this week with the Sadies in the Prairies. Catch them in the act; visit their Myspace page for tour dates and locations.


"The Pack a.d. : Maya Miller and Becky Black - Interview"

I saw The Pack a.d. play in a tent at the End of the Road festival last year. They had a tough slot – early Sunday evening, when the energy and attention levels of festival goers were probably at their lowest of the weekend. Not to mention that Dan Sartain was playing in the Big Top at the same time. No worries; if a tent had an arsehole, this band ripped it a brand new one, playing full-on blues-based garage-rock for an unremitting 40 minutes and leaving everyone who saw them feeling invigorated. And what’s surprising is that that massive sound onstage is made by just two people. The Pack A.D. is a duo from Vancouver, Canada, consisting of singer/songwriter/guitarist Becky Black and drummer/songwriter Maya Miller. They formed in 2006 and have released three albums, all on Mint Records: Tintype in January 2008, which was previously self-released in April 2007, Funeral Mixtape in August 2008 and We Kill Computers in April 2010 (there was also an excellent 180g vinyl issue of the latter for Record Store Day 2010). They were on a European tour this Spring and made it to England for a few shows. We spoke to Maya and Becky one Friday in May 2010 before a show at the Windmill, a few hours after they’d played an afternoon set at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton.

SXP: You played 159 shows in 2009 and I saw one of them, at End of the Road last September. It’s just the two of you, and presumably you put as much energy in the show I saw into every show, so how do you do it?

Maya: Honestly, sometimes we just pull it out of the air because I don’t know where it comes from. We’re sometimes jetlagged, tired or hungry.
Becky: It’s just something that has to be done. Every night.
Maya: We’ve got it pretty well [organised] when we’re travelling, we’re not very active in the day preceding the show and oft-times we’ll be sleeping before a show and then you save it all up just to do it. We had sections [of the tour] last year when we played 20 shows in a row before we got one day off and that was a bit crazy!

SXP: There’s no place to hide either. Neither of you can take a break and you can’t play a solo.

Maya: Well we could but that would be silly! Not being able to have a break is interesting. There’s no break and if your nose itches or whatever you keep going. Case in point, last night we played Utrecht in the Netherlands and during the show I hit back with my stick and hit my eyeball. Nothing around my eye, just my actual eyeball, but with the force of my usual drum hit. I was playing and everything immediately went black and I started tearing. I kept playing the song and didn’t miss a beat and for the rest of the show I had tears streaming down out of my eye.

SXP: This is your third album. Your press release said that this captures the power and energy of your live show. Is this what you set out to do?

Maya: That’s what we wanted to do with the last album too and it didn’t quite make it. I don’t think many bands can pull both of them off really well; extremely good bands can probably get a really great sounding album and a great live show but it usually seems to favour one or the other. With this third album we really wanted it to come as close as we could make it to how it is when we play live. I think we got somewhat closer. We had a different energy going about this album. The second album, we were still trying to get it right. When you’re obsessed with getting it right, it hampers what you’re doing and on this album we weren’t so concerned with getting it right as enjoying what we were doing and I think it comes across a bit more.
Becky: And also we decided not to record as many slow songs. There were a lot of slow songs on the last album and we realised: OK, we’re gonna record all fast songs ‘cause we never play slow songs live! There’s no point – it’s not accurate. You have an album that sounds different from your live show.
Maya: Which is funny as we spent the whole last year touring the other album and we’d do this set that was all rock’n’roll and then say: “here buy this album, it’s really slow!” *laughter*
Becky: Even the songs that are fast on the album we usually play at twice the speed live too!

SXP: We Kill Computers is definitely different from the earlier albums. And there are a few songs that sound a bit metal-influenced: people like Sabbath and AC/DC. Are you closet metalheads?

Becky: I used to be but it was power-metal! *laughs* I think more than anything that’s where I got the inspiration to sing like I do (*sings loud and high*). A lot of those metal singers do that, though they do it way better than me. Their falsetto’s perfect.
Maya: I don’t know about the influence. I just wanna play something that would make me dance a little, even if it’s erratic ‘cause a lot of our songs are a little erratic and stop and start, so it’s hard to get your groove on. You do what you do, I guess, and it’s not necessarily everything you listen to – but maybe some things sneak in there! In our van we’ll listen to anything from electronic music to Laurie Anderson and soundtracks.

SXP: I noticed on your website you’ve been asking for mixtapes for your van. Have you had many?

Maya: Yes, they’ve been coming in! In fact we had someone show up in Munich with a mixtape for us and I can’t wait to hear it. It’s got all these German bands who I have no idea about.

SXP: When you get mixtapes, do you get any where you play a few songs and throw the tape out the window?

Maya: Not so far. I like every type of music so I can’t anticipate hating any mix anyone comes up with – unless they put Katrina and the Waves on it and then I’m gonna be unhappy! *laughter*

SXP: Aren’t there restrictions in being a two-piece?

Maya: There are bands like Godspeed! You Black Emperor and they’re amazing. It would be great to make that one day but imagine travelling with 16 people!
Becky: Adding a bass player would have a huge effect on our music.
Maya: Adding anything to the mix actually would really change the dynamic. Of course there are moments you think of adding something else but that’s what recording’s for. And that’s what a tambourine is for! We’d be hard pressed to find another person that we could tolerate or they could tolerate us! *laughter*

SXP: Does the format restrict you in songwriting if you only have drums and guitar to work with?

Becky: Sort of, but it’s almost a good thing.
Maya: In the format we can come up with a lot of songs but what’s nice about just being the two of us is that we can really quickly throw them out the window without feeling any heartbreak about it. Either we like it after we play it a bit or we just don’t.
Becky: Songwriting is quick! You don’t have to compose anything or write much down. We just play.

SXP: With your two piece set up and your choice of music, you must get compared to the White Stripes a bit.

Maya: It’s an easy comparison and in some cases it’s kind of a lazy comparison. The only time it’s painful is when it’s implied that’s what we’re trying to do. Neither of us have listened to any White Stripes in years. It’s not an intentional thing. You (to Becky) have a whole theory about four and five member bands - they don’t always get compared to the Beatles. But because there are only so many duos, you’ve got that label unless you’re doing something completely different.
Becky: Instrumentally, it’s the same drum and guitar, it’s stripped down blues-based garage rock. There’s only so much you can do with that so in some ways it’s gonna sound the same but it’s really different.

SXP: The lyrics are certainly different – especially the nature references. There’s one song [‘They Know Me’] about liking animals and not liking humans very much. Is that tongue in cheek or do you really prefer animals?

Becky: Well apparently we don’t ‘cause we eat meat.
Maya: There was an article in Vancouver about how much we liked animals and then the article listed things we talked about during the interview: it said we talked about fried chicken and barbequed duck. It didn’t say what we said about them, just that we talked about them. And someone from the Humane Society wrote and wagged the finger at us – we can’t love animals and eat them too. But everyone’s a hypocrite, so whatever!
Becky: We love animals and they’re also tasty!
Maya: [Songs about animals] just seemed to be the trend at the time – you write about certain things and this album seemed to be a lot of animal things!

SXP: You acknowledge the support of the Canadian government on the sleeve. I notice this on a lot of Canadian records. How do they support you?

Becky: We get grants for playing festivals…
Maya: …and we get grants for touring – not always, so the flipside to getting grants from the government for labels and artists is going: thank you! Most Canadian artists who are on a label will have that on the sleeve. It’s actually a really nice system.

SXP: Is it enough to make a difference?

Maya: It’s a huge difference. To fly over here to do shows, the flights are C$3500 for the two of us, and we’re a small band. Everyone’s getting off cheap with us. It definitely helps to have these grants for this – and I know it does to our label too.

SXP: As Canadians, I presume you’re not influenced by American scenes?

Maya: We’re only two or three hours from Seattle and only an hour from the border but yet we’ve managed not to be terribly American-influenced.

SXP: Is Vancouver a fertile musical city? I don’t know many bands from there compared to Montreal and Toronto.

Maya: It’s a smaller community I guess, but it’s there. I think it’s going through a wave right now where it’s really good in Vancouver. That happens with every city, there'll be a lull and then suddenly every good band seems to be coming from that one place. Vancouver’s good but it’s really varied; there’s a big rock scene, but a big indiepop and electronica [scene] and it goes all over the board – there’s no one set thing.

Article written by Ged M - Jul 5, 2010 - SoundsXP

"Brixton, Windmill (London, UK) - Live Show Review - May 20, 2010"

In interview and hanging around the merch table, Maya Miller and Becky Black of The Pack a.d. are quiet and calm. It's clearly an energy conservation strategy because as soon as they hit the stage they have the same effect as fireworks let off in a confined space, spraying a storm of noise and burning with a magnesium energy. If Becky has a badly sprained ankle, it's a good job her physio isn't present as she leaps around fearlessly, dragging tunes out of her guitars as she screams into the microphone and dances on damaged tendons. Maya meanwhile dispels any comparisons with other two-piece garage-rock bands by thrashing her kit so mercilessly it's a wonder that the skins don't burst. There's no let up in pace, just smash-and-thrash punky pop succeeded by metallic riffs, particularly on the brutal ‘Big Anvil’. It's no wonder that they decline shouts of "just one more song", looking and sweating like they're totally shagged (they’ve already played one afternoon gig today at Brighton’s Great Escape festival). There's not a huge crowd tonight in the Windmill but they're shocked and awed that one twosome can produce such a blitzkrieg of sound – as my ears still testify, hours later.

Article written by Ged M - May 20, 2010 - SoundsXP

"we kill computers - Album Review"

The Pack A.D. play rock music the way it’s meant to be played: hard, dirty, and loud. The Vancouver duo’s third album We Kill Computers is steeped in growling vocals, throbbing guitar, and ricocheting drums. Their style is a refreshing mix of sounds reminiscent of Gossip, The White Stripes, and Led Zeppelin. Vocalist Becky Black launches herself head first into every song, singing with pain and urgency, spitting fire and roughing up each word before it leaves her mouth. Stand-out tracks “Everyone Looks Like Everyone” — a cynic’s take on life — and “Crazy” — a speedy song about survival — are the heart of this moody, sexy, cocksure album. - The Owl Mag.

"allmusic Review of we kill computers"

Just because a group is comprised of a guitarist/singer and a drummer doesn't necessarily mean it'll sound like the White Stripes -- after all, the Flat Duo Jets, the Spinanes, and Bantam Rooster all created a distinct sound of their own with the same instrumentation long before Jack White gave it a try. But the Pack A.D. seem to have taken more of a lesson from the White Stripes than just forgetting the bass player -- guitarist Becky Black aims for a heroic, arena-filling sound on the group's third album, We Kill Computers, that bears some surface similarities to White's approach, and drummer Maya Miller bashes away with an abundance of enthusiasm and little concern for rudimentary niceties. However, one important thing separates the two bands -- as White looks for new ways to refine his approach, the Pack A.D. keep rocking harder each time they walk into the studio, and We Kill Computers is a full-on exercise in lean, primal rock & roll that neither asks for or offers any compromise. Black's guitar work is like the engine of a classic Dodge, big and powerful, and the fuzzy report of her instrument gives her songs a well-defined shape and muscle that most bands couldn't match with two guitarists. And while Miller's drumming isn't exactly refined, she makes a great team with Black, and her no-frills stomp clears space for a groove that may be brutal but you sure can dance to it. Together, the Pack A.D. sound fierce, focused, and as deeply committed as nearly any band out there today, and they're not at all wrong to believe in themselves; this album lays out a hard and heavy wall of sound that should impress anyone with ears, whether owning a copy of Elephant or not. Let Black and Miller bring the noise on your stereo and don't be surprised if you're hooked before you know it.

by Mark Deming - allmusic

"Becky Black and Maya Miller get ahead of the pack: Becky Black and Maya Miller were teenage outcasts, but the Pack a.d. could make them the coolest kids in town"

Getting to know the Pack a.d. on more than a superficial level takes some work.

This might surprise anyone eavesdropping on singer-guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller on an insanely gorgeous spring day in Vancouver. The two bandmates are hanging out with the Georgia Straight at Havana Gallery & Restaurant on Commercial Drive, knocking back drinks and happily riffing on their favourite things. They do this freely and easily, which is a tad surprising. Miller is, by her own admission, a private person, and Black isn’t exactly famous as the rock ’n’ roll equivalent of a Chatty Cathy doll.

Among the things they adore is Magic the Gathering, a fantasy card game that’s sort of a cross between Pokémon and Dungeons & Dragons. When the Pack a.d. is on tour, which is to say pretty much constantly, the role-playing game has proven invaluable for passing time in hotel rooms. Also ranking high are puking stories and the kind of bad movies that subscribe to the Terrance and Phillip theory that nothing is funnier than someone cutting it.

“We have really lowbrow humour,” Miller admits with a laugh.

To that, Black adds: “And I mostly find it funny how funny she finds lowbrow humour.”

Over the course of a two-hour conversation that will see a number of Stellas and at least two Mamma Dobles consumed, the women of the Pack a.d. also speak glowingly and lovingly of, in no particular order: Epsom-salts baths, soups of all flavours, Star Wars, southern-fried chicken, barbecued duck, Coors Light, Detroit and its bands, Eddie Murphy’s Norbit, American Spirit cigarettes, Coco Loco cocktails, animals of all stripes and sizes, America’s Next Top Model, long silences in the tour van, Best in Show, high-end Scotch, salt, Stephen King novels, Slim Jim dinners, Triscuits, 30 Rock, and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy edition of Risk.

Somewhere in all this, Miller and Black remember to sing the praises of themselves, specifically what they’ve accomplished on their new album, we kill computers.

“It’s kind of funny, because I’m still not sick of it,” says the outgoing, blond-haired timekeeper, whose black jeans and black Skull Skates hoodie are offset by a just-out-of-the-box pair of orange Luke Skywalker Adidas. “I like these songs, and she [Black] does too.”

What both of them can be proud of is that we kill computers finds the Pack a.d. branching out from the primal, swampy, soul-jacked blues that first got the duo noticed in 2007. Predictably, that’s already polarizing those who’ve been watching them.

“I read one thing,” Miller reports, “which said, ‘Oh, they used to do a Son House/White Stripes thing, and now they are doing a Black Keys thing, so, ah, we’ll see how that goes.’ You can’t win.”

Actually, sometimes you can. What’s great about we kill computers is, in part, the way the Pack a.d. confidently incorporates everything from turbo-blasted rawk to sugar-buzzed punk to ghost-on-the-highway country. But the real beauty of the Vancouver duo’s third full-length is more abstract in nature: just when you thought you had a pretty good handle on where Black and Miller are coming from, they’ve created an album that makes you realize you don’t really know them at all.

Based on their first two records, 2007’s Tintype and 2008’s Funeral Mixtape, one might be forgiven for thinking that the Pack a.d. isn’t from around these parts. Long-time fans will be happy to hear that we kill computers doesn’t completely abandon the garage-y, dredged-from-the-Delta tone of their past outings. Check out the King Kong stomp of “Math, the Stars” or the gorgeous last-call waltz “The Slow Down”. Still, we kill computers isn’t all more of the same. “B.C. Is on Fire” marries tribal-sacrifice drums with oasis-shimmer guitars, the end result reinventing shoegaze for the too-cool-for-school hipsters of Main Street. The stone-cold killer “Everyone Looks Like Everyone” rocks like the Motor City circa the great underground explosion of ’01, and “Cobra Matte” traffics terrifically in both DIY freak-pop and gutter-blitzed punk.

So, suddenly, you can almost believe that Miller and Black weren’t raised somewhere in the Deep South in a world of tin-roofed shacks, weather-beaten outhouses, and backwoods moonshine stills. And that’s maybe appropriate. After all, they come from an area that isn’t exactly within spitting distance of the Crossroads. Both grew up in East Van, long before Ken Lum’s Monument for East Vancouver cross at Clark Drive and Great Northern Way made that seem cool.

“My formative years were mostly around Commercial Drive,” Miller says. “I was at 3rd and Commercial—I got the privilege of going to Grandview Elementary, which was voted, at the time, the absolutely worst elementary school that you could send your kid to.”

Even though they didn’t know each other at the time, Black and Miller would each attend East Vancouver’s Templeton Secondary School. Miller was a self-professed theatre geek, mostly hanging out with other drama nerds.

“I was never cool, but I was never an outcast,” she reveals. “I got along with every kind of group, even though I wasn’t really friends with them. High school made me, um, really nervous.”

Laughing, the drummer continues with: “It was very uncomfortable—it was very sad. But I would lash out and present myself a certain way, because it was a choice to be more out-there instead of not being there at all. But I was actually remembering, just the other day, sitting around with groups of so-called friends, not able to talk because I’d be thinking that nothing I could say would possibly be good enough.”

Black has even less charmed memories of her high-school years.

Wearing, on this day, black jeans and Chucks, accessorized by a Star Trek T-shirt (which she’s modified to read Star Wars), the dark-haired singer oozes cool charisma, kind of like a young Joan Jett. But during her time at Templeton, she was anything but one of the hip kids. A self-admitted loner interested in visual art, she admired comic-book artists like Ben Templesmith and Ashley Wood.

“I liked [Gerald] Brom for a while, because he does fantasy art and I used to really be into fantasy, and I guess I still am,” Black says. “Like cheesy fantasy—stories about elves and broadswords and fairies….I liked fantasy and sci-fi—anything that doesn’t take place in the real world. I liked the idea of going somewhere else—the idea of not existing on the planet for a short time.”

At this point, it should be noted that the singer doesn’t, initially at least, give this—or any other—information up easily.

In fact, a week before drinks at Havana, the Georgia Straight reaches the Pack a.d. long-distance in Colorado for a preliminary phone interview. Right from the point Black picks up the receiver in her Denver hotel room, it’s obvious that she’s not comfortable.

In some ways this is no surprise. When the Pack a.d. performs live, it’s Miller who does the interacting with the audience between songs, usually offering up a running monologue. Black, by contrast, rarely opens her mouth except to sing.

It takes all of six minutes and 56 seconds for the Pack a.d.’s de facto frontwoman to push the panic button from Denver. She initially gives short answers to questions designed to get a handle on where she came from and how she ended up where she is today. She allows that she got average marks in school, dreamed of one day commanding ferry boats, and comes from a family where every man seems to end up a firefighter. It’s when asked what, as a teenager, she imagined herself doing today that she finally decides she’s had enough.

“Do I have to answer all these personal questions?” Black asks all of a sudden.

(She’ll later reveal that Miller was beside her in the hotel room, typing things like “You don’t have to answer that” on a computer.)

Asked if she’d rather avoid her personal background, Black responds with: “Is that okay? Neither of us usually share much personal information. It just feels, I dunno… I guess I don’t share myself with anyone. I don’t know why—it makes me feel uncomfortable.”

This reluctance—which Black, after some negotiating, eventually overcomes—also rears up when the phone is handed off to Miller, albeit to a lesser degree. It’s easily explainable, however, where they’re coming from: all you have to do is check out the lyrics on we kill computers. Animals surface repeatedly in the album’s songs. The crash-cymbal-driven opener, “Deer”, finds Black paying tribute to our doe-eyed friends with “We share more than you’d ever think/Two species pushed over the brink.” From there, fish surface in the percussion-bombed “Catch”, dogs and cats and mice in “Big Anvil”, and lowly mollusks in “Crazy”.

The underlying message is that God’s other creatures are far more trustworthy than people. And just in case you somehow have trouble figuring that out, the message is made crystal clear in “They Know Me”, which starts out with “Every animal is my friend” and then goes on to argue “People are the worst of all.”

“Humans suck—I’ll start with that premise,” says Miller, who is responsible for most of the Pack a.d.’s lyrics. “Humans are a pain in the ass and animals aren’t. That seems to come up in my writing a lot.”

As for the title we kill computers, think of it as a commentary on the social-networking generation. The members of the Pack a.d. aren’t entirely convinced that the world needs to know everything about them—or anyone, really—every second of the day on Twitter or through Facebook updates.

“It’s like, ‘I just took a shit and ate a taco,’ ” Black says with a laugh. “And ‘Here’s a picture of it.’ Nobody cares.”

If that attitude sounds old-school, it’s somehow appropriate. The Pack a.d. have, right out of the gate, seemed older than their years: they arrived sounding like they’d just stumbled out of a Mississippi gin joint, with Miller not so much playing her drums as pulverizing them, and Black coming on like a double-threat cross between Janis Joplin and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Like the White Stripes, Black Keys, Soledad Brothers, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Pack a.d. somehow made the idea of white kids conjuring up the spirit of Robert Johnson seem totally natural. Funnily, though, it wasn’t the Hazlehurst, Mississippi–born legend that convinced Black to pick up the guitar, which she first did at age 13.

She remembers initially stumbling through “Smoke on the Water” and “Iron Man”, later on developing a love of power-metal acts like HammerFall, followed by alt-rock icons the Pixies. Giving her something in common with Miller, forward-thinking hard-rock alchemists System of a Down would later be a major obsession during her tortured youth.

All of this raises the question of how she ended up playing the garage-grimed blues with the Pack a.d. Black has a theory.

“My grandpa plays tons of instruments—he’s really into music and still listens to music all the time,” she says. “I guess part of the reason that I play some of the music that I do is that, growing up, I would spend a lot of time at my grandparents’ house. The music playing in the background was always old jazz records and blues: Django Reinhardt and Billie Holiday and stuff. I think maybe that entered my subconscious in my younger years.”

The goal in we kill computers was to move beyond whatever music might be hard-wired into the DNA of the Pack a.d. That determination to mix things up was a smart one. As much as the Ramones got away with making the same record for 22 years, the reality is that even the most primitive-sounding acts evolve these days and are often rewarded for doing so. The Black Keys’ breakthrough record, Attack & Release, took chances that made it sound a million miles away from their debut disc, The Big Come Up. And consider the way the White Stripes broke out the marimbas and piano on Get Behind Me Satan without alienating the hipsters who first fell for White Blood Cells.

Miller cites U2 as a group that’s not afraid to challenge its fans by mixing things up.

“Even when they evolve badly, they are still doing something different,” she says between slugs of her Stella. “I’m not a huge fan, but I will say that there was something about Zooropa. I thought Zooropa was great because it was something different, even though it’s still U2. Or take Radiohead, and the way people are into either new Radiohead or old Radiohead. What’s wrong with liking both? What’s wrong with accepting that you can’t do the same thing every single album or else you just become a cover band?”

And with that statement, Miller and Black send a message to everyone who fell in love with them when they arrived on the scene smelling like authentic Mississippi Delta mud and homemade Tennessee bourbon: namely, with we kill computers, they’ve only begun to show us what they are capable of.

By Miller’s own admission, the Pack a.d. has yet to fly on the mainstream radar.

“We’re not a buzz band yet,” she says candidly. “We’re a workhorse band.”

We kill computers is strong enough to change that. So if you’re one of those underground-fixated obsessives who love being able to say “I was into them way back when,” now might be the perfect time to do your best to get to know the Pack a.d. And, as far as that challenge goes, there’s really only one thing to say: good luck.

by Mike Usinger - Georgia Straight Magazine - Cover Story April 22, 2010

"we kill computers - Album review - Canada"

Radiohead says okay to computers; The Pack a.d. disagrees, loudly. On Deer, the opening track to the Vancouver guitar-and-drums duo’s latest and best blistering racket of devil-electric blues and stuttering garage-punk howls, Becky Black rails and wails like a filthy Geddy Lee against fake online friendships and circuit-board cleverness that has “reached its prime.” An affinity with nature and its beasts manifests itself throughout, notably on the deep-metal Mississippi of Crazy, where the forward motion of sharks is lauded. The Pack a.d.’s own progress is heard on something like B.C. Is on Fire, its pummelling drum beat and a reverb-laden surf-rock aura a departure from the pair’s signature stomps. Forget the White Stripes comparisons – the Pack a.d. now makes its own gritty, awesome statement.

by Brad Wheeler - The Globe and Mail

"The Challenges of The Pack a.d. - May 2010"

The Challenges of Pack A.D.
By Andrea Warner

This is the first album we've recorded that we're kind of happy with, which is either a good thing, or could be the worst sign ever. We don't know yet." Maya Miller, drummer for the East Vancouver-based garage rock duo the Pack A.D., laughs a little, but she's not entirely joking. We Kill Computers is Miller's and singer-guitarist Becky Black's third record in four years, and the pair have made a name for themselves as badass, blues-loving, rock hellions. Critics, bloggers, and fans wax poetic about the pair's unique ability to harken back to a time decidedly cooler and yank it by the chest hairs into the future.

And, while it's true that in the past the Pack A.D.'s blues-drenched sound evoked a stylized imagery — raw and raucous, new yet familiar — the duo are taking deliberate steps away from what's defined them. Over the phone in a car in the middle of a mall parking lot in London, ON, Miller is candid about the band's mini-evolution.

The whole reason we were even playing in this blues vein, to be honest, is because it came easier," Miller admits. "And over the last few years, we've just started moving away from that naturally." We Kill Computers packs plenty of evidence to support the duo's musical exploration, from the incendiary tribal beats of "B.C. Is On Fire" to the verging-on-indie-pop "Crazy," which has become the album's first radio single. ("It actually has a chorus," Miller points out. "None of our other songs do.") Computers also treads familiar territory, with classic blues and rock numbers like openers "Deer" and "Everyone Looks Like Everyone," but even these bear signs of blurring the lines between soundscapes.

Computers itself is a little bit strange to me, because it touches on a few different genres and sounds so separate from each other," Miller says. "If you put 'BC Is On Fire' next to 'Big Anvil' or 'Cobra Matte' it's a little bit strange, like it's kind of a different band, but I like it."

Computers also indicates a bit of a shift in the way the Pack A.D. do business. After essentially shrugging themselves into existence — their reactions to being asked to play their first show and record their first album, Tintype, two months later: "Sure, why not?" — Miller acknowledges it has been a massive learning curve.

We spent maybe $200 on Tintype," Miller laughs. "And it's totally rough and in our opinion, kind of awful, but apparently has an awful sort-of charm to it, so that's fine. We recorded it and we didn't know what we were doing and that's why it's 17 songs long. We were like, well, we don't know if we'll ever record another album, so let's just put every song on it even if we don't like it."

Now, just four years later, they've recently hired a manager, Aaron Schubert, who helped resurrect Vancouver's Biltmore Cabaret, whom they initiated trial-by-fire style during one of their five South by Southwest shows in March.

"One of the shows was a terrible technical disaster and nothing was working, and we did manage to play some songs, but we were also very drunk," Miller recalls, almost giddily. "For the first time ever after a show we got wrist-slapped to lay off the booze, which we found secretly kind of awesome, because we don't actually get drunk that often. And we have a reputation of being drinkers, but we're not really drinkers, so the one time we get wasted and he has to see it, and we're the bad kids now. It was kind of gratifying to have someone play dad."

Even with a dad figure to keep them in line, the pair's reputation as "bad kids" has been years in the making. Miller admits that when she and Black scrap, it's mostly the silent treatment for a couple hours until one of them cracks the other up, usually by reading something stupid on a signpost. When prompted to reveal their most badass behaviour, Miller stumbles momentarily, first revealing they played Magic the Gathering in the bar before a show recently, then recalling when Black drunkenly punched a fan in the face during a gig, before confessing that she herself likes to drink wine and take sleeping pills when flying.

But, even with all that under their belts, it might just be that the most badass things about them are their reproductive systems. Because they like to play loud music, rock out, and sometimes start shit in mosh pits, plenty of concert-goers and reviewers have seemed stupidly stunned that Miller and Black are — gasp— girls.

They write that we play like we have 'balls' like it's some sort of credit," Miller sighs audibly. "At first we weren't really aware of [the sexism], but we've noticed it a lot more lately. Or people coming up to us after shows and saying, 'Wow, you really rock out for girls!' And, what does that have to do with it? Our approach is that we're human beings playing music and we play it the way we like to play. Maybe it seems strange to play so loud. I guess women are supposed to just be sluts. I say sluts, because women are often marketed in a Shakira fashion. And I think it's really unfortunate, because it just makes the music irrelevant, and it's a time-old tradition of how women are supposed to sell themselves based on how they look instead of what they're doing, and I think it's really shitty and I think it comes up a lot. I wish it didn't, and it's nice when it doesn't. Ughh, you know neither of us is on stage thinking, 'I am a woman playing music.' If you think about it, it's like, you're not walking to a bus stop thinking I am a woman walking to a bus stop, or I am a woman going to dinner. Men don't think about it like that. And it's frustrating, because we're not just a duo, we're a lady duo. It's weird. And hopefully it will start going away at some point."

by Andrea Warner - Exclaim! Magazine

"we kill computers - Album Review - US"

Ever wonder what it would sound like if The Kills got together with The Black Keys and did one enormous, bluesy rave-up? Probably not (who, other than the biggest music geeks, ever thinks about stuff like that?), but such a question might get more valid consideration if you listen to The Pack a.d.'s third album, We Kill Computers. Stomping out of the gate with a renewed sense of frustration and a petulant desire to get even with everything, We Kill Computers takes the scruffy, groovy hate-fucking dirty shirt blooz rawk that the band has been chipping away at since forming in 2006 to phenomenal and potent new levels. Sounds cool right? It is – but, really, the game hasn't changed here for the band, they've simply gotten better at it and it shows in every goddamned micro-tone that appears in We Kill Computers' thirteen tracks; singer/guitarist Betty Black has never sounded so confrontational, and Maya Miller has never molested her drum kit like she meant it so much before. The band just goes for broke here like they've got nothing to lose.

They get started at it from note one too; that aforementioned petulance stands up right at front and center as “Deer” torpedoes forth, representing all that has been best about this band for the last four years. Right away, Black's guitar rocks out like a very hung over Keith Richards while she spits and hisses lines like, “Let's have a chat” during the bridge of the song and Miller's drums don't so much tumble as be the set of punches that cause others to do so. It's the sort of blues-punk number that causes listeners to remember why they started listening to rock n' roll in the first place – it's pissed off, a little horny and just looking for a reason – and The Pack a.d. does it in such a way that makes listeners feel like they're invited to come along for the ride or fuck off. It's beautiful.

And what a beautiful ride it is. Immediately following “Deer,” Pack a.d. shifts gears into the far more groovy and melodic anthems “Everyone Looks Like Everyone” and “Crazy” which don't trade any of the sardonic and dismissive tones first set forth by “Deer” but do streamline them to make a far more effective impact; the blues and rock elements of the songs are no cleaner, but they're certainly wound tighter and seem to stand tall to tell audiences that this band doesn't care if they come, stay, lay or pray – the band is going to do what it wants no matter what. That's the sentiment summed up and sealed perfectly into “Math, The Stars.”

The Pack a.d. doesn't try to reach past those sentiments at any point on We Kill Computers but, really, doesn't need to either. In each of the album's thirteen tracks, the band finds more than enough indie blues-punk-rock thunder and lightning to both pound and wow listeners, and they only come back begging for more in turn. It's funny because there isn't eally anything special about it, but it becomes so infectious in performance (this album almost sounds like it was cut live off the floor and it's so virile – if you don't start to get an itch to dance or start a pit when you hear “Big Anvil,” “Cobra Matte” or “K Stomp,” I'll have to check your pulse) that it's impossible to turn away from and listeners will feel their adrenaline levels continually rise.

So what does such an effect and result mean for The Pack a.d.? Without meaning to sound trite, there is just enough power housed here to make a fan out of most anyone that hears the album; the hook is in the strength of the delivery. There's no doubt it will catch, and that means it will suddenly become very interesting to see what happens to The Pack a.d. next and where they choose to steer listeners.

REVIEW BY: Bill Adams - Ground Control Mag.

"Live Review - Biltmore Cabaret (Vancouver, B.C.) April 2010"

Damn, the Pack AD is huge! This night was their release party for the We Kill Computers album and we were so ready for it! The floor was packed and booze was flowing freely when Becky Black and Maya Miller hit the stage. With Black’s first brutal guitar riff it became a seething mass of bodies and twisted limbs paying worship to some of the hottest raunchy blues metal. Coupled with Miller pounding on the skins like a modern day warrior you have a band that plays the hell out of their instruments and offers a hell of a show in the process. With a furious and amazing set that spanned all three albums and a full house that hung on every note, it is safe to say that it’s only a mater of time before these local gals conquer the world. Catch them while you still can.

by Nathaniel Bryce - Discorder Magazine

"We Kill Computers - Album Review - US"

Dirty electric blooze isn't supposed to be this brainy. But The Pack A.D. is full of contradictions, or what would seem contradictions if the music didn't blow every hard rock preconception out of the water. To get the chauvinist nonsense out of the way first, here are two women musicians whose chops are every ounce as heavy as any slope-browed neo-cock rocker. That may sound like an odd thing to say as late as 2010. But what separates The Pack A.D. from most of the post-Kim Deal and P.J. Harvey generation, and even from easy comparative points like the White Stripes and Japandroids, is the simple but important fact that you could listen to their three albums back to back, and never once peg the genders of drummer Maya Miller and singer/guitarist Becky Black if you didn't look at the personnel list. Black's vocals are perfectly slotted in the low tenor/high alto range, and Miller's beats are totally aggro, covered in the scuzz of garage rock, a male-dominated aesthetic if ever there was one. So the music doesn't really bend gender - it ignores the distinction completely, kicking The Pack A.D. into the level of post-feminist hard rock.

None of which would matter, of course, if the music weren't this good, and We Kill Computers is a dirty jewel, a record that rocks hard and keeps getting more interesting the longer you listen to it. The songs hit like short, sharp punches, and they're filled with cool moments like the rideout instrumental breakdown on "Big Anvil" and Miller's thunderous opening drum statement on "Cobra Matte." It's a great driving record, an excellent summer record, one of those discs that comes out when the mood needs revving up. And the music is complex enough to keep revealing new wrinkles on repeated spins, which - say what you will about the cathartic value of hard rawk - just isn't something you can say of most garage records.

You can say it of We Kill Computers, though, which makes it The Pack A.D. an excellent addition to any fuzzy blooze collection. - Blurt

"QBiM SPiNS: The Pack a.d. We Kill Computers"

“We’re already myth,” sings Becky Black on opening track of the new LP from The Pack a.d., and I kind of agree with her. Although I didn’t really get into it, the pair of releases the band had in 2008 (Tintype and Funeral Mixtape) certainly set the duo up for some legendary status. They were two women playing drums and guitar and singing bluesy rock riffing tunes like a pair of wild animals. For some, The Pack a.d. sounded like a novelty idea (all-girl White Stripes, anyone?) but after a year of gigging and playing, they’ve proven that they are far from novelty; closer to novel. We Kill Computers, their latest Mint Records release drops the blues and hones their riffing to acute razor sharpness.

These songs are not for the faint of heart. “Big Anvil” hits with all the weight and power of its namesake; “1880? is an anthemic heavy metal powerhouse; “Cobra Matte” coasts down rock’s lost highway like a runaway sportscar, upsetting everything in its wake. Lyrically, The Pack a.d. are a dense and difficult creature to understand. That’s part of the thrill to these songs. Verse-chorus-verse structure is replaced by a stream of conscious writing style that’s more akin to fellow Vancouverite Douglas Coupland circa Generation X. There’s bile and vitriol for sure, but it’s intelligently packaged and presented, which sets We Kill Computers apart from the-*ahem*-pack.

As I said before, their previous records didn’t do anything for me, so I didn’t have any real expectations for We Kill Computers, but The Pack a.d. have left me breathless and impressed. “B.C. Is On Fire” is not just a song title, it’s a statement of fact, and The Pack a.d. are standing over the pyre holding the match. - Quick Before It Melts

"Zulu Records Pick of the Week"

The Pack A.D. are a gift to our city for several reasons. Obviously they write great garage-blues stompers that get stuck in your head. And to be sure they put on a great live show, evoking the kind of debauchery that made the Gun Club and The Cramps legendary. But what’s really great about this band is that they’re able to tap into so many of Vancouver’s various social scenes, bringing them all together for a sweaty, beer-soaked party. Going to their show at the Biltmore this Friday you’ll find guys and gals of all stripes, all backgrounds and all scenes. This band reminds us what going out to catch a great bar band’s live show is all about: dancing, singing along, and spilling beer with people you’ve never met before who are your new best friends. - Scout Magazine / Zulu Records Recommendation

"Pack Mentality is to play the blues- Interview by Stuart Derdeyn"


Seeing this act live is explosive, organic and really different each time

Stuart Derdeyn
The Province

Thursday, December 13, 2007

There must be something going on down at the crossroads again. More bands are getting the blues these days than have in ages.

Van.-based Mint Records act the Pack A.D. has 'em real, real bad.

On its debut CD, Tintype, the one-two punch of guitarist/howler Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller lays down raw, rough boogie that is oft inaccurately compared to White Stripes while owing more allegiance to Fat Possum Records or the Black Keys. The band's MySpace site ( says it was influenced by such disparate elements as "the years 1860-1920 . . . and Patrick Swayze (in Road House)." Yeah, he was pretty cool in that flick.

"We met in another band that was trying for a Pixies/System of a Down thing that really didn't work for us even though it was a lot of fun," says Miller. "So we sort of split off to do our own thing."

"Initially, we were still going for a more indie-rock thing, but it just kept getting bluesier and bluesier as it went along," adds Black. "We just kind of let it happen this way."

That was a year ago.

In short time, word was out that the group was one to watch, adding A.D. to its name to avoid trouble with L.A.-based hip-hop crew The Pack. Live, Miller's sparse beats shuffle along while Black goes from a whisper to a wail tearing out shards of spiky lead guitar. It's explosive, organic and really different each time.

"Yeah, we speed up and slow down, but at the same time," says Miller. "Some might say it's sloppy, but we call it loose."

Mint called it good enough to ink a multi-album deal with the duo. The timing looks right.

The pair are playing a lot and were accepted to showcase at Canada Music Week in Toronto and at the South By Southwest music fest in Austin, Texas, this March. So what is it that makes this crew stand out from other acts?

"We were actually talking about that recently," says Miller. "Maybe it's because most girl bands tend to play music that's poppy and where the vocals are intended to be melodic and pleasing."

"I don't really sing that way, I just like rocking out" says Black. "I only started singing with this group and was a bit mellower, but it really lends itself to being raunchy."

She sounds like a hellhound is on her tail in the sombre "Gold Rush," or that she's going to explode if she doesn't get "some" in "Bang." Nothing on Tintype is ever less than intense and rarely cheery.

"There is a song about drinking; one of them," says Miller.

It wouldn't be a blues album if it didn't have one, now would it?


The Pack A.D.

Where: The Media Club, 695 Cambie St.

When: Tonight at 10

Where: The Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir St.

When: Tomorrow night at 9

Tickets: At the door

- The Province

"We Kill Computers - Album Review - UK"


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Real music for real people

LOCATION: Vancouver, BC Canada

LINE UP: Becky Black (vocals/guitar) / Maya Miller (drums)

WHAT’S THE STORY?: Barnstorming duo The Pack a.d. have made an album so vital to any true rocknroller that you’ll be scorned by friends and relatives if you don’t have it. Kick-ass riffs with trashy tub-thumpin’ rock throughout the set, with just enough of their bluesy roots to keep even the most anal listener interested. From opener ‘Deer’ to last track ‘The Last Martian’, you’ll be kept bangingly surprised and a little turned on. Sexy and swampy, dirty and tough, ‘we kill computers’ is a raucous bar fight of an album that bursts into your brain and legs like an epileptic’s nightmare fit. Awesomely mahoosive tunes ‘Math, The Stars’ and ‘Big Anvil’ nearly crack your skull with sheer noisy brilliance. Also included is the spooky ‘They Know Me’, which has echoes of Nico at her most haunting, but kicks on into ‘K Stomp’, a crazy and aggressive number that defines what rock music should be.

SOUNDS LIKE: it was recorded in a swamp shack in a post-punk alternate universe.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF YOU LIKE: being a two-piece, White Stripes comparisons are inevitable; but if you want a more masculine sound, The Pack a.d. is where to find it. Hints of The Stooges headbutt their way in as well, and that’s never a bad thing. - Red Hot Velvet

"Recordings by Adrian Mack"

The Pack
Recordings By Adrian Mack
Publish Date: August 16, 2007

Tintype (Independent)

A guitar-drum howling-blues duo, Becky Black and Maya Miller of the Pack are clearly meant to play together. Sometimes they deliberately mess with time, as in the chorus of "All Damn Day Long", but mostly they're running harum-scarum into the heart of Tintype's 17 songs, dropping notes, rushing the beat, and finding devastating payoffs. They make like-minded acts such as Mr. Airplane Man sound slick in contrast, while Black's voice has raised more than a few comparisons to Janis Joplin by way of the Black Keys.

But there are also hints of PJ Harvey in the clattering "This Terror"–which has something to do with squirrel fur, paranoia, and coffee–and Chan Marshall would be proud to have come up with the spectral love/hate song "Bang". By the end of this incredible debut, Black has been fully seized by the witch-woman blues, threatening to carve up her man in "Bone Handle". The whole beautiful mess will have uptown turkeys running in terror back to their Eric Clapton "blues" CDs.
- The Georgia Straight - Aug 16, 2007

"Funeral Mixtape Review (Herohill)"

When Mint Records re-released the debut LP from Vancouver's The Pack A.D., I was knocked on my ass. Becky and Maya somehow managed to write a debut record that was full of gritty hybrid blues, but still had the chops to sing soulful ballads that bled with emotion. It usually takes years for a blues outfit to perfect those types of sounds, not a single release.

I tried hard to avoid using obvious metaphors, and stressed that - "Make no mistake, this record isn't awesome because two women are playing swampy blues. No, it's awesome because The Pack A.D. crushes it and they just happen to be women."

Well, out of nowhere the Pack is back with a follow up LP - Funeral Mixtape - and like Cappadonna would say, "put valve up to twelve. Put all the other LP's back on the shelf." After only three tracks it's obvious that the songs they penned for Tintype were just a terrific sounding appetizer and Becky and Maya are ready to serve up a heavy main course; one ready to stand beside the excellent releases by bands like Black Diamond Heavies and the Black Keys.

They still hit you in the mouth with that rough blues you'd expect, as the quick hitting opener (Blackout) and chainsaw guitars on Don't Have To Like You demonstrate, but The Pack A.D. has become so much more than your standard two piece ensemble. They try out so many styles that you are constantly left guessing where they are going next, but when the catchy hook of Making Gestures explodes on the chorus, you know there is no looking back.

Whether you look at the or the road trip anthem in waiting Wolves and Werewolves or their fantastic take on the New Orleans death march, Oh Be Joyful, you see that the duo has the talent to handle a diverse mix of experimentation and tradition. Wolves and Werewolves is built on a catchy rock riff, but rather than just let it play out they do a 180 with a chaotic, slowed down breakdown that is as heavy as any part of the record. On the latter, Becky plays the roll of the charismatic singer song writer as she takes center stage, but the chorus quickly throws you back into the familiar gritty swamp sounds.

Lyrically, Becky tales tells of violence, death and Civil War, but remarkably, she adds a husky tenderness at just the right time and it creating a dichotomy you wouldn't expect. On tracks like Shiny Things, the power of her voice, the crunch of the guitar and Maya's relentless assault on the tattered skins give way to a gentle falsetto and soothing voice (even with the grisly subject matter), lulling you into a sway before they crank it back up and turn the dance floor a sweaty mess.

The Pack A.D. seems to live in the tour van and the non-stop tours have helped the band control the pace of the record perfectly. The songs feel more like a live set than a staged recording. They recorded the songs live off the floor, which definitely helps, as does the way the sequenced the songs. When the powerful ballads June and Dannemora Blues start, it's hard not to close your eyes and nod along. The slow burners consume you, lulling you into a sense of security before they crank it back up with the monster sounds of Build, sending your energy through the roof.

Basically, everything I said about the Pack A.D. in the past still holds true, but somehow they've completely changed. They are bigger, badder, bolder and behind a ruthless tour schedule, they are going to be making fans all over North America. Might as well jump on board and enjoy the ride. - Herohill

"Funeral Mixtape Review (Hearya)"

Down in Austin, I ran into Parker from Radio Moscow and he said he was on his way to see The Pack AD. Since Parker has great taste in music, I filed that name away in the ol’ brain and, once back in Chicago, fell in love at first spin. The Pack AD are two Canadian chicks firing up dirty blues-punk mix. Sweet Jesus man, this was like a prayer being answered.

Funeral Mixtape gave me the same funny feeling that I had after hearing The Heartless Bastards for the first time. It’s like meeting a cute girl for the first time in junior high mixed with being run over by rusty ‘72 Ford pickup. The Pack AD consist of Becky Black on guitar/vocals and Maya Miller on drums. Black belts out lyrics like she’s trying to get poison out of her body and the unbridled fury and passion she delivers verse after verse is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

I was enjoying the disc just fine up until the third tune and that’s when it turned into lust. The blues boogie on “Making Gestures” digs straight down to the core of your being. Other standouts include “Shiny Things,” “Oh Be Joyful” and the delightfully slow, bluesy closer “Worried.” The ladies are on tour all over the US and Canada. - Hearya

"Shit-kicking and scary, catch the Pack A.D. when you can - Live Review by Elaine Cordon"

At the Railway Club on Saturday, March 1

An evening at the Railway Club is always an interesting one. Whether you end up cornered by an eccentric old dude talking about the time he lent Joey Ramone 20 bucks, drinking until somersaulting down the infamous stairway seems like a good idea, or just catching an awesome band in an intimate setting, the Railway is one of a kind.

Saturday night’s crowd shuffled in for a four-band party to celebrate the release of the Pack A.D.’s new CD, Tintype. It was also a sendoff party for the Mint signing, which was headed to Austin, Texas, for the buzz-building South By Southwest festival.

First up was the Hideaway Jug Band, which, from the back of the room, appeared to be a quartet of middle-aged men turning a basement jam into a live show as a lark. Upon closer inspection, the band turned out to be composed of four 20-somethings doing a fairly good impression of an early Tragically Hip. Since it was only the Hideaway Jug Band’s second show, the group could be forgiven for being sloppy around the edges, and generally, you can’t fault kids for attempting old-man bar rock.

Next up was tROUBLE, an innocuous West Coast roots-rock band that provided the perfect soundtrack for sending text messages to a friend at another show. Singer Jane Sawyer has a pretty voice, but the songs deviated little from the love-lost-but-now-I’m-strong formula. The group did score a beautiful moment when John Mann, frontman for Spirit of the West, came up for a duet on Nick Cave and PJ Harvey’s version of the traditional murder ballad “Henry Lee”, but, that aside, there was little to remember about tROUBLE.

To an increasingly drunk and rowdy crowd, the Hotel Lobbyists played intelligent dude rock, sounding something like the love child of Rush and Guided by Voices.

Finally, well past 1 a.m., the Pack A.D. took the stage. If you’re not familiar with the two-girl group’s music, think the White Stripes minus all the annoying pretensions, but plus one incredibly talented singer and guitarist in came-from-nowhere Becky Black. Black has blues pipes that could give 1970s-era Buddy Guy a run for his money, plus the rare ability to use her virtuosity on the guitar as an extension of her voice. Add Maya Miller’s confident, perfectly restrained drumming to the mix and you have one of the most exciting bands to pop up in this city in a long time.

Highlights of an explosive set included “Oh Be Joyful”—during which Black’s forceful wailing practically carved a smile onto listeners’ faces—and the menacing “What’s Up There”. If the Pack A.D.’s shit-kicking sound didn’t scare the bejesus out of you, Black’s demonically impish grinning was more than enough to do so. It sure did me. Or perhaps it was just the millionth elbow in the head I’d received from the rambunctious crowd. By the time the duo was done (at almost 3 a.m., with the punters still begging for more), I’d dropped $12 on a copy of Tintype and resigned myself to the fact that shows from the Pack A.D. will only get busier from here on out. Brace yourself, Austin—something special is coming your way.

- The Georgia Straight - March 6, 2008

"Wolves in she's clothing."

Sight unseen, The Pack A.D. is a blues-soaked rock and roll outfit of the highest order. However, once you�ve set eyes upon this dynamic duo, your estimation of what it takes to make that grade may be drastically and irreversibly altered. The fact that they�re just two girls getting their groove on has proven to be a daunting equation for many of their industry peers. Add to that their amazing talent and onstage charisma and you have a formidable concoction that amounts to one explosive Molotov cocktail of female fury. For drummer Maya Miller and guitarist-vocalist Becky Black, it�s just another day in the trenches.

�It�s a weird boys� club out here,� Miller says. �I don�t even know what would be considered appropriate music for a woman to play. Flowing gowns and Loreena McKennitt hair and all that stuff? There�s this belief that women have to be soft and pleasing in everything. That�s why the most common thing to do when marketing a female artist is to play up their sexuality. Women are compelled to appeal to guys; it�s wired into our subconscious and thus into our lives. We�re just a couple of people trying to write and perform great music. So we�re girls, so what? When people see us live they get that. It�s irrelevant.�

Determined to pay their dues and then some, these hard-working blueswomen have just completed a scorching spring tour that saw them hit 84 stages in a mere 95-day span. Not only did this intrinsically masochistic marathon put them on the musical map as ones-to-watch, but it also saw them rack up some serious miles on their beloved boogie van, The Falcon. As in Millennium.

�The Falcon is awesome, I knock on her constantly,� Miller proudly reports. �We�ve taken her from 75,000 miles to 162,000 with only one breakdown! I still can�t believe we did it. Apparently that run of shows was inspired by craziness, although things are never normal with us. We had originally booked a short tour, then a break and then our third trip to perform in the U.K. Well, the U.K. tour got pushed to the fall so we just started booking and stringing shows together into this monstrous continuous chain. By the end of the third month we were so cranked and miserable, sick of driving and lonesome for our own beds. It took Becky a while to get over the shock of it after we made it back home and it was all over. It was a true test of our endurance, but the last few shows were totally amazing.�

With a name (the packad) that translates to �The Drunk� in Swedish you know this duo is out for a good time, including rocking the SXSW and Sled Island festivals. Relentless touring has paid off handsomely, earning The Pack A.D. a reputation as a no-nonsense powerhouse with a penchant for swamping bars with their sludgy brand of stripped-down blues. Black�s voice oscillates between garagey wallows and anger personified as she scales insurmountable heights of ecstasy and plunges into chasms of defeat, egged on every inch of the way by Miller�s pulmonary thumping.

Though they borrow heavily from a traditional genre, these new-school femme fatales effectively rearrange classic riffery and hooky vocals to forge their own distinct musical identity. Fans and critics alike have responded favourably, spawning the runaway success of their albums Tintype, self-released in 2007 and re-released by Mint Records in 2008, and the more recent Funeral Mixtape, which was released in August of 2008.

�We did a bunch of recording in January and February and it just wasn�t enough to base an album on,� Miller explains. �We were happy to be done, but it sucks that it wasn�t finished. We decided to take some time off and plan to return to the studio this winter. The theory is to record it as two separate sessions.�

�That�s the beauty of being a two-piece organization; at any given time we can sit down and practise,� she continues. �We�ll whip up three songs and then dump them in a single afternoon. We have the luxury of being brutal when it comes to deciding what to keep because there�s no extended period of working things out with three or four or five other people. Honestly, we should be the poster people for best friends. It�s ridiculous how well we get along,, considering the extraordinary amount of time we spend together. I think the secret is knowing when to shut up.�
- FFWD Weekly - July 30 2009, Christine Leonard

"Pack Attack"

Yesterday, as usual for a Friday, I was on CBC's afternoon edition with Michelle Hugli and my friend and Planet S counterpart Chris Kirkland, talking about supercool weekend events in Regina and Saskatoon.

My pick for Friday night was the band The Pack A.D., scheduled to rawk the hell out of O'Hanlon's.

A few things caught my attention about this band before I recommended them as the awesomest thing to do Friday night in Regina. First, they're signed to Mint Records, the never-miss Vancouver label who introduced me to fave bands the New Pornographers and Young and Sexy, and fave artists Neko Case and Carolyn Mark. (Plus, Mint has Nardwuar, and if you have Nardwuar you are made of win. This is a proven scientific fact).

Second, prairie dog's Vancouver bureau (in this case the esteemed Emmet Matheson) said we should do something on 'em because they're "really good".

Third, I listened to their stuff. Holy smokes, the Pack A.D. are really good.

So I checked out their set, which got underway at O'Hanlon's around 12:15-ish (kinda on the late side, tsk). The Pack A.D. are a Vancouver drum and guitar duo of Maya Miller and Becky Black who play a bluesy, rockey mix of "grrr" and "rowr". Their stuff would sound fake and forced from most bands but from Miller and Black's strings, skins and throats it rips with pure, blazing integrity.

They are the real thing, these two, and they are very likely only going to get better and better and better. I should add that Dechene and Steel were with me and they both agreed the band was great (and that makes it three against one, so you have to admit that we're right).

But you want a sample. Here's their video for "Making Gestures, off their 2008 album Funeral Mixtape, brought to you by the power of YooToob.

Let me tell you, it's even better live.

So I rave about this band today for two reasons. First, if you missed them last night--or even if you didn't--you've got another chance to see them here this summer. They'll be back in Regina July 30 at the Exchange (specifically, the Club). It's only eight bucks and will be a great show. Check it out. And yes, we'll have an article in the July 29 prairie dog. They'll play Amigo's in Saskatoon the next night, by the way.

Second, Miller asked the crowd to tell all their Winnipeg friends to catch tomorrow night's show at The Lo Pub, corner of Ellice and Kennedy. Since I have 'Peg friends who read this blog, well.. get there if you can people! I'm pretty sure you'll all like this band. (Peakay, drag Dano out if you can.)
- Prairie Dog Magazine - July 2009

"Pack Mentality"

The Pack A.D.'s Black and Maya Miller ooze tough-as-leather garage-rock cool
Published July 2, 2009 by Paul Matwychuk in Music Preview

With their leather jackets, shaggy Joan Jett hairdos, and stripped-down guitar-and-drums sound reeking of last night’s beer and cigarettes, Vancouver all-girl rock duo The Pack A.D. are the quintessence of badass rock-chick attitude. Maya Miller and Becky Black are their names — and even “Becky Black” is a name so perfect it sounds made up. They play back-to-basics all-girl rock — you could almost nickname them The Ramonas, except they specialize in slow, bluesy garage rock, not sped-up punk.

“Sure, it’s sort of limiting having only two instruments,” says Black over the phone from Whitehorse, just one of dozens of cities they’re hitting this year as they cut a swath through Europe and North America. “But at the same time, you can make songs a lot quicker. If something’s not working, you can just move on to the next idea.”

The Pack A.D. — the initials stand for “After Death” and were tacked on in order to differentiate themselves from a California band named The Pack who’d claimed the corresponding MySpace page before Black and Miller could grab it — is swimming against the Canadian indie-rock current toward lush, pretty melodies played by bands with nine members in the lineup (many of whom, as Miller remarks, are “playing instruments they don’t even know how to play”). But Canada’s a rock ’n’ roll country at heart, Miller argues, and their audiences find it refreshing to see a rock band with two women front and centre, and not stuck playing bass or keyboards.

“I think there’s a subconscious thing with women who get into rock,” Miller says. “They get sucked into thinking they have to do something that appeals to men. We met one guy when we were starting out who said, ‘Oh, I’d love to manage you! And the first thing I’d do is, it’d be great to have you guys wear skirts!’ And we were like, ‘Uh ... no.’ I mean, that’s as ridiculous as wearing a skirt to play sports, you know? I think people’s inherent sexual appeal can come across without putting an outfit on. I think there’s plenty of appeal there anyway, because people are appealing.”

Dammit, is there nothing uncool about The Pack A.D.? The right-on, get-the-job-done feminist attitude ... Black’s former job at a gas station ... the story about passing out drunk before their set at Calgary’s Sled Island music festival ... the list of influences on their MySpace page that includes Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson as well as The Sonics and the MC5 ... the creepy video they made for their single “Making Gestures,” featuring a bunch of kids prowling around their school in animal masks.

And then, completely by accident, I discover the chink in their armour during a softball question about bad habits they’ve picked up on the road. I expect to hear more drinking stories, but that’s not what I got. “We recently started playing Magic: The Gathering,” Miller says. “It’s awesome — it’s a great boredom-breaker.”

Magic: The Gathering? Oh my God, what a pair of total nerds. - See Magazine - July 2009


Unpersons - Sept 13, 2011
we kill computers - April 27, 2010
Funeral Mixtape - August 28, 2009
Tintype - April 2007 / re-released January 22, 2008

Mint Records -
Platinum Records / Cornflakes Zoo (France) -

Aaron Schubert -
Marie Foxall -

CANADA Booking
US Booking
EUROPE Booking,

CANADA - - Ken Beattie
USA - - Nathan Walker
UK - - Lucy Hurst



The Pack a.d. have been growing inexorably since they signed to Mint Records. Drummer Maya Miller and guitarist/vocalist Becky Black stormed off the mean streets of East Vancouver with their debut album Tintype in hand and Funeral Mixtape following shortly thereafter, both released by Mint in 2008. Since then, the duo has unleashed their brand of tribal, blues and punk infected garage-rock across North America and Europe. Mint released their third album we kill computers in 2010, which cemented their place at the forefront of Canadian independent music on the back of dozens of glowing reviews and a few award nominations. Showing no signs of slowing down, the band's fourth album Unpersons, produced by the infamous Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs, The Paul Collins Beat, The White Stripes), will hit shelves in September of 2011.