Orgōne brings sunshine and unstoppable groovy beats to our dreary Montana winter. The antidote for gloomy skies and depression is here: you only need to show up with your dancing shoes.
The LA-based funk group comes to the Top Hat this Wednesday, returning after an explosive show last January in the Zoo. The band is touring in support of “Reasons,” its new and 10th studio album released Jan. 18. The record’s beats and basslines are constructed to support Adryon de León’s crooning and fiery vocals, demanding movement from crowds, bodies and souls. The group’s music is clearly inspired by the raw soul records of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
León’s lead vocals should pull you down to the Top Hat even if funky vibes aren’t your thing. The singer’s found her way into all things soul in LA, singing for numerous soul groups including backup vocals for Macy Gray. Weaving in and out of her commanding vocals, the decade-strong band’s tried-and-true funk promises to deliver. The guitar, bass and percussion mesh together in timeless melodies.
A standout song, “We Can Make It,” plays with the album’s conscious soul-healing grooves to match Leon’s iridescent croon. “It’s the give and the take,” León reminds us. “You got strength you can face it,” she sings, waltzing with a French horn. Bop yourself to salvation, she’s saying. Bop to it live.
Orgōne started in the ‘90s, but its current lineup began playing together in 2000. Since then, eight members have consistently hit the road for tours, though more members join the studio during recording sessions.
The songs on this new record demand listeners to call upon that feeling of liberation that hits after huge personal victories. This echoes in the group’s name, which means the “universal life force” or a “cosmic unit of energy.”
The album’s lyrical content came out of a week spent in Joshua Tree National Park jamming late into the desert night in a ranch house. A bleakly beautiful desert landscape inspired straightforward funk beats with a twist of summer heat under palm trees with vintage cadillacs rolling around.
The group calls its music “dirty, organic, California soul with heart.” Show up, Missoula, and prove to them that Montana has its own funky grooves running through our hearts.
Orgōne returns to the Top Hat Wednesday, Jan. 30, doors at 8:30 p.m.
The Districts bleed spirited sorrow, performing deep-heart surgery with their boisterous rock. Their most recent sound bounds forward with passion, storming straight into Missoula this weekend.
The band’s strong cohesiveness is no surprise considering members Rob Grote (vocals and guitar), Connor Jacobus (bass) and Braden Lawrence (drums) have known each other since grade school in Lititz, Pennsylvania. The Districts began playing together in high school in the tri-state area, producing their first full-length album, “Telephone,” in 2013. “Telephone” was innocent with a folky twang, filled with a longing exemplified in hit songs like “Long Distance,” and “Funeral Beds.”
The Districts’ next leap was moving from Lititz to Philadelphia, where famed St. Vincent and Kurt Vile producer, John Congleton, produced the 2015 album, “A Flourish and a Spoil.” This sophomore effort was moody and dark, with a poetic tenderness.
For their third full length record, 2017’s “Popular Manipulations,” The Districts were joined by guitarist Pat Cassidy. The rawness of this album is palpable, half-produced by Congleton and half on their own with the help of Philadelphia engineer Keith Abrams. They pull shoegaze inspiration in their loudest, most charged music yet, but the record’s most gripping quality is its ability to keep the noise from canceling the thought. It’s not just about the grumble of the belly, but finding the source of the ache.
“Ordinary Day” is riddled with anxiety, sourced by melancholic descriptors of mundanity. “Covering miles in a broken car. Covered in gold and kicking through the belly ache. An ordinary sunset, an ordinary day,” Grote sings. “Point” is existential, establishing that “the point is beside the point now.”
Isolation and memory are present themes that The Districts tackle with grit. “Violet” is possessive, alternatively soft and harsh as Grote sings, “What does not last gets stuck to your throat.” The album emotes through thought processes. “Rattling of the Heart” declares, “If I can get to the root of all this maybe I can live gratefully,” while the album’s final song, “Will You Be Quiet Please?” surrenders to tiredness.
“Before I Wake” serves a powerful introduction to the entire experience. Grote admits, “I’m just a narcissist,” before one of the most purgative guitar riffs, full of fear of being alone and hope in loneliness. The song stares all the what ifs of the album in the eye and serenades them.
The Districts play Friday, Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. at the Top Hat. Tickets are $15 and the show is all ages. Opening band: Deeper.