It's catch-up time again for Calendar's guide on building a lively record collection on a budget of $25 a month. Because the Guide hasn't run since July, today's recommendations cover records released in the last three months.
Boyoyo Boys' "Back in Town" (Rounder)--Not to be confused with Zimbabwe's Bhundu Boys (or, for that matter, New York's Beastie Boys), this group offers perky, enriching guitar and saxophone-dominated instrumentals. This group is one major reason Paul Simon wanted to work with South African musicians.
R.E.M.'s "Document" (I.R.S.)--The most influential American rock band since Talking Heads offers its most enthralling album since "Murmur."
Thelonious Monster's "Next Saturday Afternoon" (Relativity)--Up from the L.A. underground, the Monster explores questions of identity and self-worth in a penetrating, provocative manner.
Dave Alvin's "Romeo's Escape" (Epic)--Alvin steps from the shadow of the Blasters and X to serve up country and rock that is at once wholly traditional yet profoundly personal.
The Jesus and Mary Chain's "Darklands" (Warner Bros.)--Setting aside the relentless guitar feedback that fueled "Psychocandy" (one of the half-dozen most arresting rock debuts of the '80s) with a white-heat intensity, the brothers Reid come up with a compelling successor to that 1985 gem. This is a record that explores romantic obsession with a chilling, unsettling, dream-like beauty.
"The Big Easy" sound track (Antilles)--This infectious sampler of Cajun, R&B and zydeco music from Professor Longhair, the Neville Brothers, Zachary Richard and others underscores the richness and character of New Orleans music.
Terence Trent D'Arby's "Introducing the Hardline . . ." (Columbia)--This London-based American recalls the bold instincts and individuality of Prince and the engaging vocal purity of Sam Cooke. He headlines Oct. 29 at the Palace.
Bruce Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love" (Columbia)--A profoundly personal look at modern love, combining the unbending optimism of "Jersey Girl" with the stark landscape of "Nebraska."
Sting's ". . . Nothing Like the Sun" (A&M)--This double album is even more graceful and assured than 1985's highly regarded "The Dream of the Blue Turtles."