Ann Arbor, MI's Vulfpeck trace the history of evolution in gloriously funky fashion on "Darwin Derby"!

Charles Darwin's journey on the HMS Beagle is one of the most significant scientific moments of the last 200 years, despite his theory of evolution being misused to justify all kinds of agendas. Perhaps people might think more critically and look into evolution more deeply if it were more interesting, more timely more fun.

For the fifth and newest single from their upcoming album Hill Climber, you can not only jam along with science's most controversial theory, but you can also trace the evolution of funk in its short not-quite-three-and-a-half-minutes.

Vulfpeck describes themselves as being influenced by famous "rhythm sections of the past." Given their funky disposition and proximity to Motor City, we can't help but think they're referencing The Funk Brothers - the legendary in-house band for Motown Records. The Funk Brothers played on some of the most influential, most beloved singles of all time, from "Stop! In The Name Of Love" by The Supremes to "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes. They also featured on such memorable tunes as "Mickey's Monkey" by The Miracles and "Catfish" by The Four Tops. Suffice it to say, some of their jams aren't that serious, is meant to take lightly.

Funk music is, first and foremost, about fun. It's about cutting loose, getting sweaty on a Saturday night and forgetting your work week, only to pray for forgiveness from your hangover come Sunday morning. In this, Vulfpeck are keeping the fun-loving, free-wheeling spirit of funk alive on "Darwin Derby."



It's built around a popping, thumping bassline and chicken-scratching guitar, serving as a bedrock for a guest appearance by Theo Katzman, wondering aloud in a spoken sing-song about the mysteries of evolution. The accompanying music video says it all - it shows Vulfpeck getting down and having fun in the studio, overlaid with cheesy, weird claymation graphics of a strange life.

It's clearly not meant to be taken seriously, although they're as serious about their music as you could hope for.

Vulfpeck reminds us of a world of working musicians, of insanely talented individuals not trying for fame or fortune giving it all away each weekend. Because it's fun, and what better way to spend a Saturday night?

Hill Climber is going to be a breath of fresh air in a world that seems bent on hurtling closer to Armageddon on any given day. It couldn't come at a better time. Perhaps we might still maintain our sanity and survive to see 2019?


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.