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Mstrkrft

Way After Party

We're hoping The Pack A.D invites us to their funerals

We agreed that we didn't want our funerals to be depressing

By Tara-Michelle Ziniuk

It is no surprise after their 2007 release, Tintype, garnered nothing but bold admiration by the press, that Vancouver-based blues-rock outfit The Pack A.D. are out uber-touring their August-release, Funeral Mixtape (Mint Records). After two months of traveling across The Pack A.D. are ready to see the light.
The Pack A.D. are ready to see the light.
Canada and back, down the east coast of the US, between Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Colombia (yes, Colombia) and back for CMJ in New York— Maya Miller remembers her and band-mate Becky Black’s Hamilton gig. It is this type of detail that proves The Pack A.D true, in a refreshing, no-gimmicks, confidant kind of way. Said confidence is, appropriately, backed by a solid, forceful, guttural second album.

Funeral Mixtape continues to bring them ongoing media praise - and a slew of odd comparisons. Among these: Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, PJ Harvey, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, The Black Lips, Babes in Toyland and Concrete Blonde. “We’ve been compared to Hole,” Miller remembers, “I even think we got a Sleater-Kinney association once.” She thinks this is a byproduct of reviewers reading and reviewing each other’s work, as opposed to listening to the band. “People see that we’re women, or that we’re a duo, so of course they think we sound like any other band they can think of that is either of these things.”

Some of these comparisons aren’t entirely far fetched, with the appropriate modification— a modernized, melodic Babes or grittier, heavier, dirtied White Stripes, sure. Hole? Not unless this reviewer was just turning 13 and starting to rebel in a town small enough to just be moving into 1995, or a dude living under a rock who’s never heard a girl sing before…

Don’t have to like you if your leg is broke,
Don’t have to like you if you can’t take a joke

Let us count the ways that the Pack A.D. hates you. Black belts out the words, Miller pounding away on drums. “Don’t Have To”, arguably the single from Funeral Mixtape is a no-holds-barred admittance to not being nice girls. Lyrics bounce between not having to like people for the nice things they do, to not having to like them because of the bad things that happen to them. It’s this sort of we-don’t-need-you-anyways charm that makes the otherwise approachable Pack A.D. just inaccessible enough to be desirable.

Another crowd-favoured track from the album, “Oh Be Joyful,” is an obscure reference to the Guy Pierson film, Ravenous. Miller and Black are rich with inside jokes and clauses.

Miller explains the album’s title as having come from “one of the ten million conversations” she and Black have shared. On this particular night, “[we] decided [we] didn’t want [our] funerals to be depressing. We both want to have parties instead … It may be morbid, but we said we’d make each other mix tapes of what we want played at our funerals, in case one of us dies.”

It’s something between true love and horror film for sure. “We don’t actually have tape deck, mind you. We might have to make mix CDs. We recorded our early days onto cassette in our band space and sold the tapes at shows. Our tape player died in the process.” Well, now you know how to help make a couple gal’s funeral dreams come true.

Back in Vancouver, Miller is listening to The Hotel Lobbyists and Canaries. “What’s your story with the West-side, East-side culture feud? As a Torontonian, I have to ask if it’s still west coast chic to hate T.O?” It is uncontested that Toronto has big love for The Pack A.D, after their multiple NXNE appearances and other tour dates. Aside from lugging gear in inappropriate attire, Miller admits, the Big Smoke and surrounding area is starting to grow on her. “I’d never actually been to Toronto until last March, but after playing a lot of shows there, and stating to get to know people and neighbourhoods— it’s working for me, I’m starting to like it.”

The Pack A.D. will be back in the recording studio working on a new album this February. Plans are under way for tour dates beginning in March, and making it back to the east by the time us cowardly, fragile folks have started going outside again in May. The Pack A.D. can be found at myspace.com/thepackad or www.mintrecs.com.

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