There's everything from heavy metal and rap (thanks to the "Less Than Zero" sound track) to country and dance-floor vigor represented in the January-February edition of Calendar's guide on how to keep up with choice new releases on a budget of $25 a month.
"Less Than Zero" (Def Jam)--A great bargain, this Rick Rubin sound track includes one of the season's most invigorating pop singles (the Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter"), two stand-out raps (from Public Enemy and L.L. Cool J) and three good-natured heavy-metal remakes (highlighted by Slayer's rampaging version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"). CD available.
Lyle Lovett's "Pontiac" (MCA/Curb)--Lovett sings with the understated wisdom of Jesse Winchester and writes with the intelligence and grace of Kris Kristofferson's early days, but his bittersweet stories and images also remind you of a Texas-based Randy Newman--or is it Tom Waits? CD available.
Singles: the seven-inch version of M/A/R/R/S' "Pump Up the Volume" (4th & Broadway/Island), perhaps the catchiest techno-pop groove from England since Thomas Dolby's "Hyperactive," and the 12-inch version of the Sugarcubes' "Birthday" (One Little Indian import), arty, yet visceral post-punk from Iceland (!) that is one of the most commanding debut singles since the Pretenders' "Stop Your Sobbing."