We describe some of the connections between the Bieri-Neumann-Strebel-Renz invariants, the Dwyer-Fried invariants, and the cohomology support loci of a space
. Under suitable hypotheses, the geometric and homological finiteness properties of regular, free abelian covers of
can be expressed in terms of the resonance varieties, extracted from the cohomology ring of
In general, though, translated components in the characteristic varieties affect the answer. We illustrate this theory in the setting of toric complexes, as well as smooth, complex projective and quasi-projective varieties, with special emphasis on configuration spaces of Riemann surfaces and complements of hyperplane arrangements.