TIME Music

REVIEW: Jenny Lewis Is Out of This World on The Voyager

Jenny Lewis, The Voyager
The Voyager Warner Bros.

Her first solo album in six years does not disappoint

Jenny Lewis is the kind of artist who could drop an album of animal noises she recorded in the woods and still have fans foaming at the mouth. So beloved is the former Rilo Kiley frontwoman that it’s almost surprising there wasn’t more outcry from her devotees in the six years it took to release another solo album. Sure, she kept somewhat busy — putting out a record with boyfriend Johnathan Rice, touring with a reunited The Postal Service — but as she reminds listeners on her third outing, The Voyager (out now), there’s nothing quite like Jenny Lewis front and center.

The Voyager is her least rootsy album to date, one that recalls the polish of her old band’s swan song, 2007’s Under the Blacklight, rather than the folk and country leanings of 2006’s Rabbit Fur Coat and 2008’s Acid Tongue. As effortless and breezy as the final product sounds, though, The Voyager wasn’t so easy to make: in the years since her last album, Rilo Kiley disbanded, Lewis’ father passed away and she battled severe insomnia the once kept her up for five days straight.

Lewis can be cagey about just how much she’s revealing in the lyrics that appear most confessional — see a recent, almost comically tight-lipped explanation of the lyrics in “Just One of the Guys” — but references to her struggles do dot the record. Or rather, sandwiching tales of colorful characters and vice, they bookend it. On the album opener “Head Underwater,” Lewis sings of mourning, hallucinations and finding freedom after confronting her own mortality; on the closing title track, she mentions wake-up calls and departing for heaven to get out of this world. Befitting its title, the album meditates on a number of journeys: entering the altered states of sleep deprivation, overcoming personal turmoil, crossing into life after death.

Her subject matter couldn’t be more suited to her creative process. “I am writing from a very simplistic place musically, and I feel like the words and melody come from somewhere else,” she told TIME earlier this summer. “They don’t come from an intellectual place, they arrive from another zone entirely.”

Lewis’ lyrics earn praise for their inclusive, non-judgmental studies of heartbreak and character flaws, but — her modesty aside — it’s hard to find a better summary of her songwriting strengths than her own explanation of how she works. Lewis’ music is timeless and her voice is far from otherwordly, but there is something to be said for the way her melodies have a habit of suddenly veering off into emotional sweet spots, taking songs into another zone entirely (to borrow her words). You hear it on the chorus of the Acid Tongue title track when Lewis sings the word “alive,” and, thankfully, you hear it over and over again across The Voyager. Like any good film score, string arrangements and production flourishes from Beck and Ryan Adams nudge listeners’ feelings toward those places, but it’s almost unnecessary at this point — Lewis can get you there all on her own.

TIME Gun Control

Judge Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban

The ban on carrying handguns outside the home is unconstitutional, he says

The District of Columbia’s ban on carrying guns outside of one’s home is unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment, a federal judge has ruled.

In a decision shared Saturday, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin said the D.C.’s ban violated citizens’ right to self-defense, the Associated Press reports.

“There is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Scullin wrote.

After a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision ended the city’s long-standing handgun ban, D.C. created new laws that required gun owners to, among other precautions, keep the weapons only inside their homes and register them again every three years. A federal judge upheld the controversial restrictions in a May ruling.

Explaining his decision, Scullin cited the 2008 opinion as well as a 2010 ruling regarding a ban on handguns in Chicago.

A spokesperson for the D.C.’s Office of the Attorney General said the district was “studying the opinion” but declined to “comment on its substance.” The AP also cited an unnamed city official who said the city would ask for a stay and was considering an appeal.

[AP]

 

 

 

 

TIME Cancer

House Passes Bill to Update Sunscreen Review Process

The first of its kind in more than a decade

The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that will streamline the process for reviewing and approving ingredients in sunscreen products.

The Sunscreen Innovation Act (H.R. 4250) was created in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration and is the first major update to the review process since the 1990s.

The act won’t change the level of scientific review required for FDA approval, only some of the procedural steps that can draw out the review process.

If it becomes a law, the Sunscreen Innovation Act would only apply to sunscreen products that have been marketed outside the U.S. for at least five years. Most of the ingredients pending approvals could have their reviews completed within the following year, according to the American Cancer Society, whose advocacy wing the Cancer Action Network supports the bill.

“Educating people about good sun safety behaviors is only half of the story,” ACS CAN President Chris Hansen said in a statement. “American consumers should have access to the broadest choice of sunscreens — including those in use for years in other countries — once they are shown to be safe and effective.”

TIME poverty

Politicians Give Living on Minimum Wage a Whirl

Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit
Ted Strickland, former Governor of Ohio Jin Lee—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Tim Ryan, Ted Strickland and Jan Schakowsky took part in #LiveTheWage challenge, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn agreed to try it in the future

Former Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland said in Sunday op-ed that he tried and failed to live on the minimum wage last week as a part of the #LiveTheWage challenge.

“Washington is in a bubble that keeps our representatives away from the experiences of those they actually represent,” Strickland wrote in Politico Magazine. “We need to understand the challenges faced by Americans who are being left behind in our economy.”

He wasn’t the only politician trying to understand the setbacks faced by low-earning workers. U.S. representatives Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) also took part in the challenge, which asks participants to live on only $77 a week — the typical amount of money an employee relying on the current $7.25 minimum wage can put toward all their expenses, not counting utilities and rent.

Ryan and Schakowsky began the challenge last Thursday, which was the fifth anniversary of the last federal minimum wage increase, ABC News reports. Both reps support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

“So far I have lost some weight, which is not bad for me, but must be tough for low wage workers all over the country,” tweeted Schakowsky. “#LiveTheWage just gives me a glimpse into the life of a low wage worker. Point is $7.25 isn’t enough to live on.”

At an event Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn agreed to Schakowsky’s request to that he, too, live on the minimum wage, in advance of a ballot measure in Illinois on Nov. 4 to raise its minimum wage to $10 in 2015, the Associated Press reports.

TIME Basketball

Judge Rules Against Donald Sterling’s Move to Block Clippers Sale

Donald Sterling
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling watches the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, 2011. Danny Moloshok—AP

Clippers sale to continue

A judge has ruled against Donald Sterling’s attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Judge Michael Levanas sided with Donald Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, who negotiated the deal and pursued the court’s approval of the sale, after the NBA fined her husband $2.5 million and banned him from the sport for life for making racist comments, the Associated Press reports.

Shelly Sterling also removed her husband from the family trust following two doctors’ opinions that he had Alzheimer’s disease and was unfit to make legal decisions. Donald Sterling claims he was manipulated and “blindsided” by the medical evaluations and had another doctor attest to his mental competency. He is expected to continue to fight the sale, as he has previously vowed.

[AP]

TIME Transportation

FAA Proposes $12M Fine Against Southwest Over Repair Allegations

Southwest Airlines Reveals New Destinations For Dallas Travelers
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 plane sits at a gate at Dallas Love Field Airport in Dallas on Feb. 3, 2014 Bloomberg/Getty Images

The proposed fine is the second largest in FAA history

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a $12 million fine against Southwest Airlines for allegedly not complying with safety regulations during Boeing 737 jetliner repairs.

The proposed fine is the second largest in FAA history, the Associated Press reports. In 2010, the FAA proposed a $24.2 million fine against American Airlines, which later settled for $24.9 million.

The agency says that Southwest’s contractor, under Southwest supervision, did not properly fasten aircraft skins and replace fuselages, among other violations, while updating 44 planes in 2006 to prevent cracking on the aluminum exteriors. The agency also claims the Dallas-based air carrier flew those planes in 2009 despite notice from the FAA about the lack of safety compliance.

A spokesperson for Southwest said the company would respond to the agency’s claims in accordance with FAA procedure guidelines. The airline also said it “fully resolved the repair issues some time ago” and that “none of the items raised in the FAA letter affect” planes currently in operation.

[AP]

TIME space travel

NASA Mars Rover Breaks Driving Record

Mars Rover
An artist's rendering of NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover NASA/AP

Opportunity Mars Rover has driven 25 miles and surpassed expectations since it reached the planet in 2004

NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover has set a new record for the longest off-Earth driving distance, the administration announced.

Opportunity has driven 25 miles since it arrived on Mars in 2004. It crossed the milestone after a 157-foot drive on Sunday.

“This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance,” John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager, said in a statement. “But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance.”

Opportunity is traveling along the rim of the Endeavor Crater, where NASA has gathered evidence of ancient water supply that was less acidic than those studied elsewhere on the planet.

As the rover approached this milestone, the team behind it named a 20-foot-wide Mars crater after the previous record holder, the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2, which drove 24.2 miles on the moon in 1973.

TIME Transportation

Gas Prices Continue to Drop After Hitting Four-Month Low

Gasoline at U.S. Pumps Seen Surging to 6-Year Seasonal High
A customer prepares to fuel her vehicle at a Road Ranger gas station in Princeton, Illinois, on June 17, 2014. Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images

One gallon of regular fuel costs as little as $3.523, on average

After hitting the lowest numbers since March last week, gas prices across the U.S. have continued to drop, AAA announced.

The current national average for regular fuel is $3.523 per gallon, according to the automobile organization. On Friday, AAA reported that the national average was $3.54 per gallon. Recent geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine and in Israel has not affected distribution or supply, it said recently.

A different survey of gasoline prices by Lundberg released Sunday reports that prices for regular gasoline fell to $3.58 per gallon, the first major drop of the year after roughly three months of stability, Reuters reports.

The prices cited by AAA and Lundberg are both roughly 10 cents cheaper than gas prices this time last year.

TIME movies

Christopher Walken Joins Disney’s New The Jungle Book

Christopher Walken leaves the "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on June 11, 2014 in New York City.
Christopher Walken leaves the "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on June 11, 2014 in New York City. Donna Ward—Getty Images

Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad will also lend his voice

Oscar winner Christopher Walken is giving Disney’s The Jungle Book the bare necessities–his voice.

The actor has signed to work on the upcoming feature film, alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Ben Kingsley, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Giancarlo Esposito, better known as Gus from Breaking Bad, has also joined the cast. Walken will play ape leader King Louie while Esposito will play Akela the wolf.

The film, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef), is a mixture of CGI and live-action footage. Only 10-year-old Neel Sethi will appear on-screen, starring as the young boy Mowgli.

The film, which swings into theaters on Oct. 9 next year, is one of two adaptations of the Rudyard Kipling stories in the works — a live-action version from Warner Bros. directed by Andy Serkis, a.k.a. Gollum from Lord of the Rings, is also on the way.

[THR]

TIME movies

Here’s Your First Look at Wonder Woman from Batman v. Superman

Gal Gadot stars in the upcoming film

Behold: Wonder Woman is finally coming back to the big screen.

Zack Snyder, the director of the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, shared the first image of Gal Gadot as the comic-book heroine during a Comic-Con presentation on Saturday.

The film, a sequel to last year’s Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck, arrives in 2016.

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