Epic Ditch Demos
Stewart Pack is one of the elite usual suspects who have shaped Knoxville's sound. With a tenure that stretches beyond 20 years with great bands like the 1-900s and Dinky Doo, Pack is notable for his prolific music-making and, more importantly, for the unerring high quality of all his projects. He is kind of a hi-fi, punk-rock Robert Pollard.
Pack's latest release, Epic Ditch Demos (available as a free download at stewartpack.com/ditchdemos) is a collection of demos recorded at Pack's home studio for his new band, Epic Ditch, a supergroup featuring Pack and Knoxville expats John Davis (Superdrag) and big-time L.A. producer Nick Raskulinicz.
Epic Ditch Demos doesn't sound like demos, though. The 20 songs are well recorded and superbly executed punk rock for grown-ups. While it will certainly be interesting to hear how these sturdy, introspective tracks evolve in the collaborative process, they sound like a finished product that could be somewhere between Hüsker Dü and Jawbreaker.
Pack is the sole musician here, with one exception: On "Clouds of Confusion" he is backed up by his 14-year-old son, Henry, who seems to share his father's talent, on drums.
Pack and the band have some dates marked on their calendar for the near future: A 7-inch record is slated for release by Pittsburgh label Velocity of Sound for late January, and the band has two upcoming shows in Nashville, on Jan. 28 and Feb. 4. Bearing in mind that the distance factor might make Epic Ditch shows few and far between, a road trip might be a good idea.