Hell’s Belles
An all-girl AC/DC rocks the Red Bull Heavy Metal afterparty.
You know we’re living in a strange world when there’s enough room for two all-female AC/DC cover bands. That’s right, AC/DShe and Hell’s Belles. I don’t know anything about that first one, but Hell’s Belles played the afterparty at Red Bull’s Heavy Metal rail jam in Portland-and they rock. The lead singer and guitar player really make the band. From the chain-on-sheet-metal vocals and singeing hot licks to the facial expressions and dance moves, they are Angus Young and Brian Johnson. I heard that the band just got the cover of Maxim and is supposed to play a show with the real AC/DC in Los Angeles. I also heard that the girls got kicked out of this venue last time for “starting too much shit.” Hell, yeah.-Jennifer Sherowski

Arab Strap
Monday At The Hug & Pint
Matador Records
The music of Arab Strap is like an authentic night in the pub-complete with that two-beer euphoria, certain sloppy revelations, a few dreary downswings, even something sketchy looming in the corner like the local bad drunk. It’s not always pretty, but it never stops being genuine. Also, this duo is from Scotland, and the album reeks of it-from the guttural Scottish accents to the hollow strings and bagpipes torn straight from the Highland winds. While the Arab Strap tap might pour slow at times, it’s still the good stuff coming out. So pull up a stool if you’re in the mood for a mellow few-you won’t get a hangover from it.-J.S.

White Stripes
Elephant
Third Man Records
You know how a lot of bands start to suck once they make it “big”? Most of the time it’s because they all the sudden have some hot new producer mixing their albums, and those guys start feeding them ideas like, “We’re going to record this album underwater-it’s called ‘aqua-phonic,’” or some other stupid crap. I’m here to tell ya that there’s none of that garbage on this record.

Sticking to its roots, the Detroit-based duo recorded its third release, Elephant, in under a month using the most prehistoric equipment they could find. And thank god for that. No overproduced B.S.-just pure rock and roll. Standout songs include “Seven Nation Army”-with its driving bass lines and explosive guitar bursts, they couldn’t have picked a better opener. If you fast-forward through the intro, “Little Acorns” is a damn-near metal riff with great punch. And finally, it would be stupid to not bring up Meg’s singing debut on “In The Cold, Cold Night,” which will only solidify her as one of the strangely sexy girls of rock. In closing, all I have to say is-go get this album before you get the SARS.-Chris Coyle

Freeway
Philadelphia Freeway
Roc-A-Fella Records
Made in the U.S.A. is good-made in Pennsylvania is better. I need to support my state’s hip-hop whether it’s nice or not. I don’t want to see American lyricists getting laid off because sales are slow or record labels being forced to send their beats and rhymes to China for manufacturing. It’d be a real shame-how would you feel if that happened to the snowboard industry?

Let’s see, looking at the album cover, I wonder if Freeway is Amish-being from PA and with the neck beard and all. Maybe the album is loaded with gospel praises about his struggles as a diligent, peaceful farmer. Maybe not-the “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” sticker kinda disputes that theory. The album is a Roc-A-Fella joint, so it’s probably focused more on firearms, dollar bills, and street pharmaceuticals.

I can tell you that Philadelphia Freeway was produced by Shawn Carter, Damon Dash, and Kareem “Biggs” Burke. Oh, and Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Nate Dogg, Peedi Crack, Nelly, Snoop, Faith Evans, and Mariah Carey are all on the roster. Now, let’s support these artists so they can keep their gold fronts.-Jon Kramer

The Chris Coulter Collection
Top five albums of all time:
1. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, No Need For Alarm
2. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride III The Pharcyde
3. White Zombie, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
4. Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
5. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
In his stereo now:
1. Mason Jennings
2. The Strokes/The Misfits
3. Left Unsaid & Kill Critic
4. DJ Z-Trip
5. Black Eyed Peas