(FORTUNE Magazine) – GRANT HART Good News for Modern Man (Pachyderm) You've got to love underdogs, especially when they rock as hard as Grant Hart. Unfairly overshadowed by comparison with his onetime Husker Du bandmate Bob Mould, Hart has crafted a lush wall-of-sound diamond. Don't let it get lost in the rough.
XTC Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) (TVT) Let's face it, there's nothing more annoying than brainy Brits with guitars. (Are you listening, Robyn Hitchcock?) Unless you're XTC, who once again pull off a collection of smilingly subversive psychedelic pop that's always smart, never smug.
BEBEL GILBERTO Tanto Tempo (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees) The daughter of Brazilian music maestro Joao Gilberto proves she's more than just another girl from Ipanema, with a sultry set of '60s bossa nova serenades spiked with slow, come-hither electronic dance beats.
PEARL JAM Binaural (Epic) Grunge may be as dead as Dillinger, but you've got to give Eddie Vedder & Co. points for sticking to their guns. Too bad only about half of this so-so Seattle stew of soul-searching vocals and raucous power chords feels as though it hasn't passed its expiration date.
SAM RIVERS' RIVBEA All-Star Orchestra Culmination (RCA/Victor) Daring and experimental big-band music that careens between caffeinated chaos and swellegant swing--what Duke Ellington might have sounded like if he took the A train and found a madman in the conductor's booth.