Solemn Meant Walks, by Solemn Meant Walks

Layered, dense, and driving, this Chicago-based outfit recalls British new wave bands Lush, the Cocteau Twins, and Joy Division. Though her vocals sit low in the mix, singer and songwriter Ami Gloria shows ample confidence. Light also pierces the dark textures, as on “Highway”: “Open your big bark eyes / Upon that big dark highway / I’ll be walking along.”

The Problem with Living in the Moment, by The Grownup Noise

“My Ride’s Almost Here” is a chamber-pop gem à la Nick Drake, but the rock mode of this Boston band works equally well. “The Fight Against Paranoia” rides on tumbling rhythm, and “Try This Again” melds rustic accordion to scratchy, catchy guitar riffs.

The Whole Night Thru, by Sam Llanas

Those who know Llanas from his time in the BoDeans will recognize his voice: still sharp and tough, yet infused with urgency on the leadoff track “Déjà Vu” and the plaintive rocker “The Best I Can.” On the tender side, “I’m Still Alive” could serve as Llanas’s theme song, given the ups and downs of his former band: “I’m grateful for another day / Another chance to find my way.”

The Boat That Carries Us, Peter Himmelman

Peter Himmelman is a rock ’n’ roll anomaly: an observant Jew who has long de­clined to play any shows on the sabbath. But this serious commitment to his faith gives his songs heft. He’s addressed broken­ness, healing, and humility in songs such as “Imperma­nent Things” and “Mission of My Soul.” And Himmelman has a knack for melding lyrical complexity with catchy melody.