Tommy Keene has been one of America’s finest indie-pop songwriters for more than two decades. His 10th solo release is far better than what passes for pop music these days. Keene doesn’t break his own mold on Crashing the Ether, just tinkering with his six-string sound, adding some dirtier riffs to his open, ringing guitars. And there are lots of big drums courtesy of John Richardson.

Keene recorded, and played most of the instruments in his home studio, giving the album a burnished, just-right quality. The intimate details make all the difference. There’s the Byrds-ian jangle-rocker “Warren in the ‘60s.” Equally brilliant is the snapshot nostalgia of confident opener “Black & White New York.” Another standout is ubiquitously melodic “Wishing,” which mixes hope with the difficulty of changing daily routines. There are a few dated electronics, but there’s no denying Keene’s demonstratively tuneful hooks.

Grade: B+