Izaak Opatz

Izaak Opatz


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Izaak Opatz’s 2018 debut 'Mariachi Static' packed confessional storytelling into musically surprising garage-pop he’d call dirtwave, a genre Woody Guthrie might've fallen into had he surfed and danced with his hips. Although he resists being slopped into the alt-country/Americana trough, Montana-born Opatz appreciates country for its love of wordplay, Wranglers, and indulgent sad bastard angle. But he’d rather tweak and sidestep its predictable musical architecture and adornments to create something new and surprising. 2020’s 'Hot & Heavy-Handed' does just that, remaking a collection of two Opatz originals and nine country covers in the dirtwave mold. Made with significant help from collaborators Malachi DeLorenzo and Dylan Rodrigue, the record deconstructs the radio-ready production of many of the songs to reframe their emotional fragility with the trio’s loose-handed and good-humored homemade musical jubilance. Additionally, Opatz’s feels-heavy delivery can’t help but humble many of these songs’ charging swagger to a more vulnerable lope. The two originals on the record were plucked from Opatz’s college-days outfit, The Best Westerns. "Lubbock for Love" has the bones of a pop-country hit from the 90s, while the cowpunk "You Made A Country Singer out of Me" celebrates and lampoons the genre, gives credit to his heartbreaker for the songs she led him to write, and predicts a future (now real) label head expressing gratitude at the profitability (haha) of his sorrow.