Somewhere on Highway 33, between the bustling Wisconsin towns of Horicon and Beaver Dam, stands a 40-foot pyramid. Well, it’s a long-vacant supper club in the shape of a pyramid, but close enough. Sometimes known as The Pyramid, sometimes known as The Nile Club, it was built in 1961 and has been closed since 2009. It’s a wonderfully weird Wisconsin roadside attraction.

Taking its name from the loony landmark is Milwaukee band The Nile Club. Like its namesake, the group is delightfully bizarre and unlikely—heavy and sludgy one minute, jammy and melodic the next. Want menacing shout-alongs AND groovy math-rock workouts? How about horns, organs, sea-shanty psychedelia, AND heart-on-its-sleeve emo? You can find it all on The Nile Club’s excellent, eclectic, and never-dull 2023 record Wake Up With A Sense Of Pride.

Wake Up With A Sense Of Pride was self-produced primarily by Sam, Marcie, Samwise, and Chai in the years following high school,” the group explains. “The album finds the band in an uncertain place, a place of change and turmoil. Halfway through writing the album, the band members moved from their respective homes in West Bend and Madison to Milwaukee, where they fully fleshed-out and recorded the project. The multiple moves, fluctuating band personnel, and the altering of the final track list delayed the album’s release significantly. Recording and mixing the record across a changing cast of attics, basements, and bedrooms also posed its challenges. The sound of the final product is the result of this turmoil. Songs about loss, change, the vices of the adult world, and questioning self-identity show the struggles and fears of four losers from rural Wisconsin facing real life for the first time.”

Turmoil! Struggles! Fear! Sounds…fun? Happily, the record is a blast. Opener “Black Knight” holds down the “menacing shout-along” side of things, and comes complete with a “Fight For Your Right”-esque chorus. From there it’s a quick pivot to a pair of psyched-out jams (“Ob-Long” and “Redeemer”), a horn-laden stomper (“Dragon Bone”), and a long-and-winding emo screamer (“Rat Race”). The wonderful and heartfelt “Colonial Rolloverer” plays like an old drinking shanty, while the even more wonderful and heartfelt “Forever Is A Word” belongs in the pantheon of great sad-sack indie songs for the lovesick and lonely. The two latter tunes represent a high-water mark on an endlessly buoyant album with precisely zero dips in quality.

Things end with the ragged and defiant “No Forgives.” It’s a song that may or may not serve as a Nile Club origin story: “And I’m off to the Brew City, baby / I’ll find my own way home / And I don’t need nobody to save me / Movin’ to the city on my own.”

The city is lucky to have The Nile Club. Highway 33 will have to remain content with the other one.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.