Pop: Steve Earle I Feel Alright Transatlantic TRA CD 227; Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire Epic EPC 481026 2; Cibo Matto Viva! La Woman Warner Bros. 9362-45989-2

This is the real American rebel: a rootin', tootin', country-rockin' good ol' boy, fresh from smack addiction and jail term, bearing a few extra chins, but more than punching his weight again. Set to a rolling "Gloria" groove, "Feel Alright" lays out Earle's terms: "I'll bring you precious contraband/ And ancient tales from distant lands," he promises, but warns, "Be careful what you wish for friend/ Because I've been to hell and now I'm back again."

The scars of his recent experiences are public enough, judging by the harrowing blues "CCKMP (Cocaine Cannot Kill My Pain)", in which the tortured singer admits he's still haunted by the conviction that "Heroin is the only thing/ The only gift the darkness brings"; but he remains largely unrepentant about his wild old ways, and as unreliable as ever. Indeed, the only apology here is "Valentine's Day", written in lieu of a promised (but forgotten) card - though there are further traces of futile self- awareness in "Hurtin' Me, Hurtin' You", in which he acknowledges, "I'm just hurtin' me when I'm hurtin' you."

For the most part, though, songs like "Hardcore Troubador", "The Unrepentant" and "Billy and Bonnie" find Earle tracking the appeal of outlaw chic and Badlands treachery with more rock 'n' roll gusto than he's been able to summon up since his Guitar Town debut in 1986. Uncompromisingly honest, unstylishly tough, I Feel Alright bulges with the kind of raw experience all too absent from today's homogenised, big-hatted country-music experience.

This, though, is the real rebel sound of the great American conspiracy: industrial grunge-metal and anti-imperialist rap harangues, a powerfully unloveable combination of the two great anti-establishment styles of the age. Frantz Fanon-fuelled rap-rockin' revolutionaries like Rage Against the Machine would probably be horrified to be linked with right-wing separatist militiamen and Oklahoma-bomber types, but they do seem to share the same fervent desire to tear down the Amerikan state, the same eagerness to believe the worst of democracy. For the moment, though, they're happy moshing it up in their nihilistic bear-pit and bewailing the futility of the dispossessed. Which is nice. But only if you have a taste for the implacable, lumpen tread of industrial grunge-metal. If not, it might just sound like some mad, ranting demagogue straddling a tank. Or a boot crushed into a face for all eternity.

Following the recent Los Lobos and Richard Thompson albums, Viva! La Woman makes it three triumphs in as many weeks for producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake. Cibo Matto are singer Miho Hatori and programmer Yuka Honda, two Japanese women from New York who write strange, poignant songs about food set to eclectic, eccentric sample-collages, and in Froom and Blake, they've found collaborators every bit their equal when it comes to off-the-wall recording strategies.

The result is endlessly intriguing: with its basic beatbox rhythm and relaxed trumpet and guitar figures, "White Pepper Ice Cream" is as close as American music gets to trip-hop, while "Sugar Water" applies a satisfying swingbeat crunch to a snatch of Star Trek diva vocalese lifted from a Morricone score. It's an oddly loveable album, enchanting and mysterious, and with "Know Your Chicken", the results are just nutty and infectious enough to be a novelty hit. Not bad going for a pair with an essentially Proustian take on food and memory, who trace the aromatic tendrils of desire like a couple of uptown, cosmopolitan Bisto kids. Delicious!

Arts and Entertainment
Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham
Downton

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past