When he isn’t leading us to top-notch fish fry in Menasha and helping to put Wisconsin music on the map with his work in Tenement and Dusk, Amos Pitsch is doing his part to spread holiday cheer. Last December, the Appleton singer-songwriter stuffed streaming service stockings with Yule, a digital EP with six seasonal songs. This December, Pitsch has outdone himself with another collection of wintry originals called Lake Effect.
The festive solo follow-up was recorded at Tenement, Dusk, and Black Thumb’s Appleton-based Crutch Of Memory studio over a two-week period this year. Pitsch wrote and played everything on the release except strings, which Julia Blair handled (though Pitsch composed the arrangements). Lake Effect has two re-recorded songs from Yule that Pitsch wanted to live on in a physical format, along with nine new offerings. Of that batch, the record’s title track and lead single has all the makings of an instant holiday hit.
The video for “Lake Effect” features Pitsch playing the part of a cooped up Wisconsinite who’s braving both the elements and boredom in his living room. Produced by frequent Tenement visual contributor Finn Bjornerud, the video features the protagonist drinking, snacking and flipping channels to take in footage of distinctly Midwestern entertainment like fishing shows, snow mobile ads, Packers highlights from Super Bowl XXXI, and polka videos.
“Anyone who’s grown up in Wisconsin—like Finn and I—tends to have a certain degree of pride or at least consciousness about the traditions and little things in everyday life here that outsiders consider clumsy or corny,” Pitsch tells Milwaukee Record. “Also, I think that if you build most of your reputation on provocative art or music, it’s good to show your audience every once in awhile that you don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Pitsch says this version is the second attempt, as the first one had footage from Fox Valley dive bars and Fleet Farm (before they were kicked out) apparently didn’t translate. Though watching Pitsch get escorted out of the store would be a sight to see, we’ll settle for the unseasonably warm sounds of “Lake Effect” and endearingly identifiable imagery to match. Before Amo Pitsch’s Lake Effect is released digitally and on vinyl this Friday, you can watch the video for the title track now.