Vancouver duo the Pack a.d. talks blues and the power of playing as a duo

Becky Black and Maya Miller aren’t messing around.

The Vancouver duo, known as the Pack a.d., plays blues-laced garage rock with ferocious abandon, and they do it a lot: Black and Maya played 157 shows in 2009. Naturally, all that rocking out has molded them into a super-tight unit, and it shows on “We Kill Computers,” their explosive new record out this week on Mint.

The duo recorded “We Kill Computers” in just 10 days — during two different recording sessions nearly a year apart. They were on tour in the intervening months, writing new songs all the while that expanded beyond the old-school, if very much electric, blues sound they started with.

“We went in to our practice space for a couple weeks and started coming up with songs,” Black tells Listen, Dammit, from the band’s van recently as they hightail it out of Detroit on their way to the next show. “It’s not very scientific. We just kind of jam out until something works.”

Here are three more facts we learned about the Pack a.d.

1. Playing the blues was a good start. Black grew up listening to the blues for one thing, and suggested it was an excellent way for her and Miller to hone their chops as a band. “We started just playing straight blues, honestly, because it was easier to play,” Black says. “We weren’t amazing musicians or anything. We still aren’t.”

2. Sometimes two is plenty. Black and Miller were initially part of a four-piece group, “a disaster band that we were kind of embarrassed to be in,” as Black puts it. When that fell apart, they carried on with a pared-down sound. “I think we had a month’s debate about whether we should try to find a bass player, and it kind of died and just never happened,” Black says. “Maybe we just don’t get along that well with other people.”

3. Comparisons can be flattering. Because there’s two of them, and because they play bluesy garage-rock, the Pack A.D. often gets compared to the White Stripes, the Black Keys and other similar bands. Black and Miller aren’t complaining, though they’re not trying to sound like anyone else. “I guess it’s a compliment getting compared to anyone who’s great,” Black says.  “Naturally, people are going to find something to compare it to, it’s not like you invented this music.”

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