Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones
Little Windows
Cooking Vinyl

Missing Piece Group

George and Tammy…Porter and Dolly…Teddy and Kelly? Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda) and Kelly Jones have a ways to go before they're recognized as the next great male-female duo, but this winning twosome is off to a fine start with Little Windows. Blending their plaintive voices in seamless, high-lonesome harmonies that would do the Everly Brothers proud, they explore love's many complications in memorable country-pop tunes both jaunty ("Wondering") and mournful ("I Thought That We Said Goodbye"). Long on atmosphere and short on pandering nostalgia, despite an old-school vibe, songs like the dreamy 3:00 a.m. ballad "Don't Remind Me" would inspire goosebumps in any era. Here's to a long partnership!
 

 

On Wednesday night, The Daily Show's Jessica Williams confronted the growing panic in state legislatures over transgender people and where they can go to the bathroom. North Carolina continues to face a massive backlash from the business community for the bathroom law it enacted in March that, among other things, requires people to pee in the location that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificates. Police departments in North Carolina say they're puzzled by the law, which critics say will be all but impossible to enforce. On Wednesday, a state senator in South Carolina introduced another so-called bathroom bill, while the Tennessee House revived one of its own.

Williams interviewed several transgender people for her sketch, including a black trans woman who was arrested last year in Iowa—where she had traveled to attend a funeral—because she didn't have a copy of her prescription for her hormone pills. (She spent eight days in jail and missed the funeral, and the charges were later dropped.) "Because of discrimination and profiling, at least 47 percent of black trans people will have at some point in their lives been incarcerated," Williams explained. "You'd think there'd be laws to correct this. But instead, this year alone, state legislatures have introduced 175 anti-trans bills."

Proponents of bathroom bills say they're necessary to prevent trans women from acting as sexual predators on girls in bathrooms. But experts say these fears aren't based on reality. "If anything, trans people are the ones getting assaulted," one trans man told Williams. Watch the Daily Show clip above for more, and check out our coverage of anti-trans violence here. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was served quite the verbal beatdown on Tuesday after a woman publicly shamed the Republican governor for a laundry list of GOP-supported issues—and it all unfolded on camera at a local Gainesville Starbucks.

"You cut Medicaid so I couldn't get Obamacare," Cara Jennings told the visibly shaken governor as he waited to pay for his coffee. "You're an asshole. You don't care about the working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here."

When Scott attempted to placate Jennings with the defense that his governorship created a million jobs, Jennings refused to back down and continued with her stunning reproach.

"A million jobs?" Jennings responded. "Who here has a great job or is looking forward to finishing school? Do you really feel like you have a job coming up?"

"You strip women of access to public health care. Shame on you, Rick Scott!"

Afterwards, Jennings told a local news station that several people thanked her for taking a stand against the governor. The incident, however, proved too much for Scott, who slunk out of the Starbucks empty-handed.

Robbie Fulks
Upland Stories
Bloodshot

Courtesy of Bloodshot Records


During his stellar two-decade-plus career, alt-country mainstay Robbie Fulks has played everything from a smartass provocateur who once serenaded Nashville in the snarky ditty "Fuck This Town" to a reverent curator who celebrated the old masters with the covers album 13 Hillbilly Giants. On the sobering and typically excellent Upland Stories he plays it straight, telling austere tales of quiet desperation and glimmering hope like "Never Come Home" and "America Is a Hard Religion," which draw inspiration from such literary lights as James Agee and Flannery O'Connor. (No need to worry about Profound Artist Syndrome, however; he couldn't strike a pretentious note if his life depended on it.) Fulks' spare acoustic guitar, enhanced by understated fiddle, steel guitar and the like, provide the perfect backdrop for his tender twang of a voice, allowing these thoughtful songs to be experienced in all their empathetic, insightful brilliance.

Elvis Presley
The Album Collection
RCA Records/Legacy Recordings

Courtesy of Sony Music

Massive, intriguing, and riddled with contradictions, this 60-disc extravaganza collects every album Elvis Presley released during his lifetime, offering the ultimate chronicle of The King's wildly fluctuating artistic fortunes over the course of 22 years. Among the contents: the great early works, 17 soundtracks, ranging from rousing (King Creole) to dreadful (Clambake), way too many live albums, especially as Elvis lost interest in the studio during the second half of his career, and a clutch of absolutely essential greatest hits collections. Accompanied by a 300-page hardcover book full of cool pictures and session info, The Album Collection features two agreeably silly Christmas albums, the gospel gem His Hand in Mine, Presley's late-'60s return to greatness on his TV special and subsequent classic Memphis sessions, and his slow physical and musical decline in the '70s, concluding with the weary Moody Blue. While three discs of odds and ends try to gather up the relevant leftovers, there's no single disc devoted to the landmark Sun rockabilly recordings that put him on the map in the first place; those are scattered across some of the '50s albums in slapdash fashion. That caveat aside, this behemoth of a set is hard to resist.

Gaz Coombes' Dramatic Power Pop


Gaz Coombes
Matador
Hot Fruit Recordings/Kobalt Label Services

Courtesy of Nasty Little Man

 

As leader of the groovy British trio Supergrass, Gaz Coombes was responsible for insanely catchy tunes that blended the muscular force of heavy metal with the insistent charm of vintage power pop. Even if you don't know the band's classic "Caught by the Fuzz" by name, you’ve surely heard (and probably loved) it. On his own, Coombes has added new elements to his arsenal without abandoning his strengths. Finally getting a proper Stateside release after being available elsewhere last year, his enthralling second solo album finds the lad exploring his epic tendencies, crafting sweeping pieces that nod more than a little to Queen and David Bowie at their grandiose '70s best. (There's even a song entitled "The Girl Who Fell to Earth"). Oddly, however, Matador never feels self-indulgent, thanks to Coombes' unpretentious, slightly raspy singing and unfailing knack for twisty, inventive melodies. Two fine live tracks tacked on as a bonus prove Coombes isn't just a creature of the studio, but his high drama requires no apologies.

On the latest Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on the business of congressional fundraising and the overwhelming amount of time lawmakers spend just to raise money—a grueling task many politicians cite as the worst part of their jobs.

"In the 2014 election cycle, candidates for the House and Senate raised a combined $1.7 billion dollars," Oliver explained. "That's a lot of money. That's more than it costs to buy 213 million tubes of hemorrhoidal cooling gel, and it's somehow even more upsetting."

Another reason politicians endlessly fundraise is partly because of hefty membership dues required by some political groups such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee—dues that can range from $125,000 to a whopping $800,000, according to Oliver.

"Is it any wonder that politicians are hitting up their customer base harder than a Girl Scout with gambling debts?"

Oliver goes on to break down how all that time is spent—from attending depressing fundraisers to cold-calling donors for hours a day—and he explains why neither side of the aisle is willing to fix the problem.

"Melancholy accidents." That's what 18th- and 19th-century American journalists used to call those senseless, entirely preventable gun mishaps that end up with somebody dead. Peter Manseau has compiled scores of news briefs about these tragedies from 1739 to 1916, many of them involving children, in his new book, Melancholy Accidents: Three Centuries of Stray Bullets and Bad Luck. Two examples:

September 3, 1785, Massachusetts Centinel (Boston): The death of Thomas Foxcraft, Esq.; late Postmaster General in Philadelphia, was occasioned by a small coach gun, which he always travelled with, going off half cocked, whilst he was preparing to accompany some friends into the country. A man of more amiable matters or more benevolent disposition never existed.

January 22, 1874, The Eureka Herald (Kansas): A boy in Decatur, Ind., took a double-barrel gun a few days ago to shoot a chicken, and three of his younger brothers followed to see the fun. The boy shot the fowl—then threw the gun with so much force upon the ground as to discharge the other barrel, seriously wounding all the brothers—one it is thought fatally.

Bad luck? Sure, in part. But this is really about stupidity on the part of adults. Today, thousands of Americans are shot accidentally each year, and that doesn't even count the collateral damage—stray bullets that take out a toddler or some other innocent, resulting in an assault or homicide charge—nor does it factor in our 20,000-plus annual gun suicides. All of these unhappy accidents, as it turns out, are very, very costly.

Taken together, Manseau's quaint chronicles serve to illustrate how little the citizens of this hyper-armed nation have learned from our collective blunders. Take this writer, whose comments on recent mishaps in the old country—this was before England took steps to rein in firearms—include a scolding that wouldn't seem out of place today.

February 9, 1792, Maryland Gazette (Annapolis): London—Last week two melancholy accidents happened from fowling pieces. A gentleman of Ellesmere, in Shropshire, accidentally shot his brother-in-law; and a young woman in Worcestershire was killed in the kitchen by a fellow servant, who was ignorant that the gun he was pointing at her was charged. These, with a hundred such like accidents, show the dreadful consequences of leaving loaded guns about a house, and of inattention and carelessness in the handling of them.

Fresh off of her delightful Twitter takedown listing all the ways she believes Donald Trump is a "loser," Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared on the Late Show on Wednesday to shred the Republican front-runner's self-touted reputation as a successful businessman.

"The truth is that he inherited a fortune from his father, he kept it going by cheating and defrauding people, and then he takes his creditors through Chapter 11," Warren told host Stephen Colbert.

"We have an economy that is in real trouble," she added. "But when the economy is in this kind of trouble, calling on Donald Trump for help is like if your house is on fire, calling an arsonist to come help out."

In contrast, the Massachusetts senator said the Democratic presidential candidates are discussing real issues that actually matter to Americans. 

"The Democrats are doing exactly what we should be doing," she said. "We're out talking about the issues that affect hardworking families: student loans, Social Security, more cops on Wall Street, trade."

She concluded by encouraging Democrats to vote for whoever picks up the party's nomination, whether it be Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

Five members from the US women's national soccer team, including Carli Lloyd and Hope Solo, are filing a federal complaint against US Soccer to accuse the sport's governing body of rampant wage discrimination, the New York Times reports.

The complaint, which will be filed on behalf of the entire U.S. women's soccer team, alleges that top female players only make 40 percent of what their male counterparts earn—despite the fact that the women's team generated $20 million more in revenue last year alone and consistently attracts  crowds comparable to those who follow the men's team.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Solo said in a statement. "We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships."

The official filing on Thursday follows previous reports of unequal pay and dismal playing conditions on the field. In December, the women's soccer team skipped a game in Hawaii to protest such unsafe conditions—a setting, they say, that would never be offered to the men's team.

"You don't see the men ever playing on turf," Hope Solo told Mother Jones. "You don't see any World Cups being played on turf—even when the major club teams come to America to play on turf stadium, they lay sod."

In the same interview, Solo called foul on the issue of pay disparity.

"We got a $1.8 million dollar bonus for winning the World Cup and we had to disburse it among 23 players," she explained. "The men for losing got $8 million to share among the players and they also received millions of dollars for every point that they received in the World Cup."

No comment yet from the authorities at US Soccer. But it might be worth noting that just this week, the US men's team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the second time in a row.