The Drive-By Truckers are mad as hell and they’re not gonna finesse it anymore. DBT’s Southern gothic rock never did shy away from lacerating commentary, particularly about Southern culture on the skids. But on American Band, due out September 30, songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley essentially have dispensed with symbolism and innuendo. Instead, they’re dishing out stark takes on the contentious issues that have turned this election year into a perpetual state of fear and loathing. Or as Cooley has said, “I wanted to piss off the assholes.” “Surrender Under Protest,” one of two already released tracks, is about morally bankrupt traditions, specifically the Confederate flag controversy following the Charleston church murders. “What It Means” concerns tattered race relations in the wake of Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, and similar incendiary incidents. It’s all delivered via spirited, Southern-fried rock ’n’ roll. Opener Lydia Loveless has an impressive new album too. Real is similarly rife with brutally direct observations, although Loveless’ are about the personal politics of shredded relationships. Her anguished, world-weary vocals retain a country twang even as her tough country-punk musical core adds new rock and pop dimensions.