As society continues to move on from a worldwide pandemic, we’re now learning the status of various projects in the Milwaukee music scene. Most often, we’ve seen bands quietly call it quits as members either form new projects or set music aside altogether. However, we’ve also experienced some surprising post-pandemic revelations in which “the great pause” nudged a few dormant bands into motion again. The latest example of this is Piles.

The Milwaukee post-punk trio hasn’t released any new material since putting out its excellent album, Expeller, in 2017. Around the same time, live outings started to slow, then eventually halt altogether. Some side bands of Piles members started to shift into primary project position after that. To be honest, we thought Piles was completely done. Even though they were booked to play last year’s Bay View Bash, we assumed it was a one-off show or an understated farewell performance. Thankfully, we were dead wrong.

“We started jamming together again when we felt safe enough to do so during the COVID days. The summer of 2021, I believe,” bassist Nolan Truttschel says. “All other projects we were working on were kinda on hiatus for one reason or another and we had the time. It just made sense. We’ve stayed good friends the whole time, so it wasn’t weird or anything. After so many years away, there was no pressure anymore and it felt fun again like it was when we first started.”

Next month, Piles will release 5:53, its first album in more than six years and the official indication the band is back in full swing. The comeback album—which will be released digitally on the band’s Burgle Records, with a few cassettes also available at upcoming shows—features a total of seven tracks.

“These new songs came together naturally. They just evolved from jams and pretty quickly turned into songs,” Truttschel says. “We recorded them at a friend’s studio, which was also great because there was no pressure, and here we are.”

Before that May 12 release and a belated release show at Cactus Club on Sunday, June 11, Piles put out a music video for 5:53‘s lead single. “Ice Age” finds the band picking up where it left off, except with a noticeably brighter and more optimistic sound than its past output. Rejoice in the unexpected return of Piles and watch the video for “Ice Age” below.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.