A hard-working touring musician, Doug Keith has spent the years leading up to his third solo album, Pony, playing bass and guitar for rising star Sharon Van Etten. If Pony reaches the right ears, he could find himself with a serious solo career. As a kid who grew up with ‘80s alternative bands, it’s only appropriate that he should ask Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis to play a guitar solo for “Pure Gold in the ‘70s”—and for Mascis to agree and knock it out of the Astrodome. There’s a relaxed brilliance to the entire album. It was recorded primarily in six days at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, N.C., with engineer Jon Ashley and Van Etten drummer Zeke Hutchins, backing vocalist Heather Woods Broderick, and Megafaun brothers Brad and Phil Cook handling bass and keyboards, respectively. Hutchins’ drums give an extra Keith Moon–like chaos to “You Can’t Stand to Be Alone,” while Doug Keith himself handles the acoustic “The Apostles” with a sweet intimacy. “Black Metal Black” cruises like a breezy Lemonheads tune with a Wilco/R.E.M. approach.

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