When Seattle funk collective F2D (AKA Funky 2 Death) throws their formidable chops into laying down an original track, you listen. And when that song turns out to be the most killer funk jam you’ve heard all year, you jump for joy—and dance your ass off.
Artist Home is therefore thrilled to premiere “Root Down,” the latest single from F2D, here.
The band’s provided a welcome blast of energy at clubs and festivals all over the PNW over the years. But they’re probably best known locally for Funky 2 Death Fridays, relentlessly grooving weekly cover sets that made them the informal house band at Wallingford’s Seamonster Lounge.
The reason F2D packed (and, hopefully, will again pack) the Seamonster week after week comes down to much more than their impeccable musicianship and good taste. They also deliver cover material with fierce creativity to match their world-class playing. In a strata of live music that fixates on pandering carbon-copies, F2D frequently throws stylistic shifts into familiar soul and funk chestnuts: Motown numbers seamlessly morph into elastic Parliament/Funkadelic-style jams, keyboardist Roc Phizzle drops effective raps, and the band tears up deep cuts from six decades of dance music with a distinctive signature and a seemingly bottomless groove.
“Root Down” proves that F2D doesn’t just excel at reconfiguring other people’s songs in their own funky image. They’ve absorbed those influences and crafted an original jam that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the classic material that’s inspired them.
Don’t expect to get a millisecond of rest during the song’s four-plus minutes. Mark Mattrey begins things with a complex, rubbery bass line that’d make Bootsy Collins bob his head in approval. Drummer Derneill “Woogie D” Washington and keyboardists Roc Phizzle and Melissa Montalto soon lock into the groove, with a hotbed of a horn section punctuating the beats. Guitarist Jason Cameron’s licks channel Eddie Hazel by way of Jimi Hendrix. Montalto belts out the lead vocals with rapid-fire soulfulness, and you’ve stumbled onto the greatest collaboration that Chaka Khan, George Clinton, and Innervisions-era Stevie Wonder never recorded. Best of all, the groove’s embroidered by a message of perseverance and positivity that couldn’t arrive at a better time.
Like any great pop song, “Root Down” leaves you wanting more in the best way. But like any great work of funkiness, it also lends itself to repeat listens like nobody’s business. I double-dog dare you not to shake your ass.
“Root Down” can be purchased on Bandcamp starting today (info here), and the band celebrates the song’s release with a live stream from the Seamonster Lounge, in partnership with Loud Swell.