Izaak Opatz’s 2018 debut Mariachi Static (Mama Bird Recording Co.) packed confessional and inventive storytelling into musically surprising garage-pop tunes he’d describe as dirtwave, a genre Woody Guthrie might’ve fallen into if he’d surfed and danced with his hips. Many of the songs grew out of Opatz’s time working on a trail crew in Montana’s Glacier National Park, pining for unavailable women and grappling with his decisions to duck stability.
2020’s Hot & Heavy-Handed irreverently remade a collection of two older Opatz originals and nine country covers (ranging from Tom T. Hall to Dierks Bentley) in the dirtwave mold. Made with collaborators Malachi DeLorenzo and Dylan Rodrigue, the record deconstructed the radio-ready production of many of the songs to reframe their emotional fragility with the trio’s loose-handed and good-humoured homemade musical jubilance.
Now, with the brand-new original, “Chinook Wind”, Opatz picks up where Mariachi Static left off, chronicling the specifics of another romantic Hindenburg. The song kicks off in the middle of an argument with an ex-lover who’s asked him on a date (on Valentine’s Day) a month after ending things, on an onramp heading west. Underlaid with the pulmonary crinkle of a toneless accordion and shot through with off-kilter jabs of Tijuana brass, “Chinook Wind” has a wider, wilder palette than Mariachi Static, but is grounded in the same descriptive, hot-off-the-diary storytelling.