The best new band (nah, it’s not subjective) in Milwaukee is, without a doubt, Foreign Goods. Formed over the summer of 2015 in Milwaukee, this eclectic group of talented musicians is making their mark on the MKE music scene.
The sound of Foreign Goods blends jazz, hip hop, and funk in a unique way that fills a void in the city. Saxophonist Jay Anderson recalled, “No one was running a band that does for me what Foreign Goods can do, so I had to call them together and make it happen.” To elaborate how truly different this group is, I asked how rehearsals go. Anderson candidly responded, “Sometimes I’ll bring in some Ethiopian-folk-music-psychedelic-trance-North-Indian-Dervish-y stuff, maybe a Willie Bobo cover, or maybe just an idea I was playing with. The other members suggest material and ideas constantly, and we shape them over time.”
This is a Milwaukee super group. Drummer Tim Russell is the Director of Music for UW-Milwaukee’s Dance Department. Bassist Sam Gehrke is perhaps best known for his role in Soul Low. Klassik and recently added Abby Jeanne Rebel Love are sharing vocal duties. Pianist Quinten Farr has been playing jazz piano since he was 8. Guitarist Randy Komberac performed with Naima Adedapo, a Milwaukee native who was featured on American Idol. Anderson has a long line of local credits, including NAN, New Boyz Club, Fatty Acids, De La Buena, and much more. The ability to hear what these individuals can come together and perform should be incentive enough.
Anderson says he functions as the leader of the group, but insists that his leadership duties only run on the management/booking side of business. “I can’t actually make anyone do anything they don’t wanna do musically,” he states. “I have a vision for what I want. The end result is augmented by the skill sets and abilities of the members in the group, but their augmentations ultimately add variety and creativity to my original vision.”
He concluded, “I’m excited to get out on the national scene and represent Milwaukee, and champion all music everywhere. Not just jazz, not just rap–all of it. That’s why we don’t have a ‘genre’ per se. I want a little bit of all the sounds I can hear in my music.”
Since the band is so young, there are currently no recordings on the interwebs. They will be taking a winter hiatus to record and put together a tour. In the mean time, be on the look out for the premiere of their Sofar Sounds: Milwaukee video.
You can catch Foreign Goods on 10/31 at Company Brewing (735 E Center Street) with a bevvy of artists.