Essential New Music: ESG’s “Keep On Moving”

Long before LCD Soundsystem and the DFA label’s bard of spindly soul, the Scroggins (Val, Renee, Marie) and Leroy Glover made innocent, lo-fi, raw-knuckled, slipped-disc, punk/funk/hop that rattled the joints and could pack a pre-gentrified Brooklyn basement dance party. Scattered, ramshackle and messy (like the band’s poli-sci British cousins the Pop Group or its Georgian buds in Pylon) at its late-’70s start, by 2006—the date of Keep On Moving’s release—ESG had grown (after too few albums, mind you) into a taut-yet-jaunty live R&B band, with a lot of echo in its mix. Keep On Moving surely benefits from that sort of caramel-coated and matured melodicism, as it gives its moody vocalists something soulful on which to cling. But the heart of this outfit is its sparse, open arrangements and its rickety rhythms—just bass and drum—which give the likes of “Purely Physical,” “Everything Goes” and “Gimme A Blast” a lighter-than-air vibe.

A.D. Amorosi