ACL Artist Spotlight: Vulfpeck

Written by on October 4, 2017

Michigan based group Vulfpeck brings funk music from Ann Arbor. Don’t let that deceptive description deter you though–these guys deliver rhythmic precision and nuance that approaches even a Funkadelic or a Family Stone. The band takes cues from the great rhythm sections of the past. Founder Jack Stratton has cited documentaries such as Paul Justman’s Standing in the Shadows of Motown as strong influence in the band’s revivalist aesthetic from the “golden age of recording.”

The group’s core line-up includes the tube sock sporting Stratton (guitars/keys/drums), Theo Katzman (drums/guitars/vocals), Woody Goss (keys), and Joe Dart (bass). Stratton leads the group in a very clear direction, striking the careful balance in which Vulfpeck wears its influences on its sleeve, but never sounds derivative or pretentious. Katzman employs the signature behind-the-beat groove so integral to funk music, while Goss lays clicky electric piano timbres in the pocket, providing an bright textural shadow to the unison melodies so fundamental to the band’s compositional style. Dart’s incessant bass lines tie the ensemble together, pulsing like a modular synth in a Kraftwerk song and lock in effortlessly with the groove no matter who is behind the kit. Despite this tight framework, Vulf are no strangers to collaboration, 2016’s The Beautiful Game has a whopping 20 personnel credits across its 10 song tracklist (not including the band proper).

The band is famous for their crowd interaction. In fact, an entire tour was crowdfunded from Spotify plays of their silent album Sleepify (read about the infamous release here). Fans at a Vulf show can expect to sing along; the track “Back Pocket” splits live audiences into three-part-harmony to perform the infectious hook.

Forming at the University of Michigan in 2011, Vulfpeck has four EPs and two studio albums under its belt. On November 7, the band will release its third full length project, Mr. Finish Line.

You can catch Vulfpeck live at Austin City Limits both Friday October 6 and Friday October 13th. Purchase tickets here.

They are also playing two shows at Emo’s in Austin on October 9 and 10 as part of the ACL Fest Late Night Shows series.

Pre-order Mr. Finish Line from the band’s official website

Purchase/stream the band’s music on Bandcamp

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