Lindsay Totty

Clyde Ellison grew up in a part of Brooklyn called Red Hook, and even though it was a rough, economically disadvantaged neighborhood, he says the people he knew there had a wealth of talent and ingenuity. Ellison himself is proof of that. He's in his early 30s now and lives in Los Angeles as a rapper, performing under the stage name Clyde Guevara. And although he's moved across the country, his lyrics often grapple with the issues in his home community "like being a gangster," he says. "Being tough. It's really like the wilderness."

The band Shearwater is known for songs with picturesque lyrics and arrangements that range from the intimate to the epic. While on tour for the band's 2016 album, Jet Plane and Oxbow, frontman Jonathan Meiburg decided he wanted to try something new: writing songs for someone else's voice.

Even before Adam Granduciel was a touring rock musician with his band The War On Drugs, he had already seen a good chunk of the country — thanks to the time he and a friend, on a whim, traveled from California to Pennsylvania by train.

The Canadian band Grindmother last week released its debut album, Age of Destruction. The group gets its name in part from the style of music it plays, known for short songs with blistering tempos and heavy distortion.