ELI COOK, High-Dollar Gospel (High-Dollar Gospel): ***

Blues with a whiskey-soaked splash of gospel from a Virginia-raised guitarist whose raspy voice and expressive slide conjure enticing atmospheres. Cook reworks Muddy Waters’ “Can’t Lose What You Never Had” into an eerie confession of despair, and sings and plays Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” like a seductive lullaby. They stand like inspirational touchstones amid Cook’s own, angstier songs. Highlights: “Mixing My Medicine,” “The Devil Finds Work,” “Month of Sundays.” At the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena Sunday, Oct. 20. elicook.com

JIMMY “DUCK” HOLMES, Cypress Grove (Easy Eye): ***½

The septuagenarian Mississippi bluesman reprises previously recorded songs with guitarist/producer Dan Auerbach, who rounded up fellow guitarist Marcus King, invaluable drummer Sam Bacco and Delta bassist Eric Deaton and let the thumping grooves flow. As he does live, Holmes conjures atmospheric worlds of consequence and feeling with just his loamy vocals and minor-key guitar tunings, minimalist settings intuitively fleshed out by Auerbach & Co. RIYL Lightnin’ Hopkins, Robert Belfour, early Black Keys. Highlights: “Catfish Blues,” the haunting “Hard Times,” Holmes’ “Gonna Get Old Someday” and the title track, a Bentonia blues chestnut he intones over hand percussion and droning rhythm like a wise man’s curse. easyeyesound.com

THE MUFFS, No Holiday (Omnivore): ***

News of ALS-afflicted frontwoman Kim Shattuck’s death Oct. 2 hit LA’s music community like a mini earthquake, not least because this 18-track release, the ’90s pop-punk trio’s first since 2014’s “Whoop Dee Doo,” was already inspiring advance enthusiasm. Produced by Shattuck, it rescues songs she wrote between 1991 and 2017 and delivers them with an endearing mix of hooky pop brevity, jangly guitars, and Shattuck’s signature winsome-and-wiseass vocal style. Highlights: “A Lovely Day Boo Hoo,” “Sick of This Old World,” “On My Own,” the kiss-off title track (“I wish you well/ Just go the hell away”). omnivorerecordings.com

PENGUIN CAFÉ, Handfuls of Night (Erased Tapes): ****

Composer Arthur Jeffes’ response to a Greenpeace commission (four compositions inspired by four breeds of penguins) is at once forward-looking and meditative, a cinematic work that conveys Antarctica’s magnificent stillness. Not to be confused with the Penguin Café Orchestra, founded by Jeffes’ late father Simon, Penguin Café does incorporate similar instrumentation (cello, double bass, guitar, harmonium, percussion, piano, synthesizer, viola, gut-stringed violins), and expands the squiggly interlude “Pythagoras on the Line” (from PCO’s 1993 album “Union Café”) into a nearly six-minute, ruminative exchange between cello, piano and synthesizer. More quietly stunning are Jeffes’ “Chinstrap,” “Gentoo Origin” and the tautly dramatic “Chapter.” penguincafe.com