The Download Blog

Star Apps: Brandon Jay McLaren

Star Apps: Brandon Jay McLaren

Brandon Jay McLaren ("The Killing" and "Falling Skies") plays tough immigration agent Dale "DJ" Jakes on "Graceland" (Wednesdays on USA). Acting in the action-packed series about the exploits of DEA, FBI, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents has given him a newfound respect for their courage. I chatted with McLaren about Season 2 of "Graceland," what he's learned from playing an ICE agent, how athletics have empowered him as an actor, and his favorite apps.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season of "Graceland"? … Read more

Star Apps: ZZ Top

Star Apps: ZZ Top

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck may seem like odd bedfellows. ZZ Top is all-American; Jeff Beck is British. ZZ Top is celebrating its 45th anniversary, while Jeff Beck's groups -- the Yardbirds and the Jeff Beck Group -- were comparatively fleeting. But these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are two branches of the same blues roots -- in fact, ZZ Top counts Beck as a major influence. After playing a couple one-offs together, the Texas trio invited the legendary guitarist out on a five-week summer tour, which starts August 8. I chatted with ZZ Top's Billy GibbonsRead more

Star Apps: Aerosmith

Star Apps: Aerosmith

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Aerosmith keep the rock flag flying high. This month the band kicks off the Let Rock Rule tour, with openers Slash and Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. I chatted with Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton about the tour, the stories behind his most famous contributions, surviving cancer, the importance of staying up-to-date on Twitter and Logic X.

What can you tell us about the Let Rock Rule tour? Having Slash with us has created a synergy where instead of two rock bands, it's gonna be something bigger than that. We feel that it's … Read more

Star Apps: Kiss

Star Apps: Kiss

Kiss has never been known for its humility. But there's no need for false modesty when you're one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Kiss has released 44 albums and sold 100 million of them over a 40-year career, and the band has an army of fans like no other. To mark its ruby anniversary, Kiss will hit the road with Def Leppard for a 40-plus-city tour that promises to be bigger and better than any Kiss concert before. I chatted with singer Paul Stanley about the summer tour, being inducted into the Rock and Roll … Read more

Software week in review, July 3

Software week in review, July 3

It was a slow week for software news, so today we present just the five app announcements that made us shake our heads. Also, check out our beach and barbecue apps to help you pledge allegiance to the flagon and the ignited steaks of America, and don't miss fireworks apps for better gunpowder appreciation. To get the latest reviews and features from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Black limos not swag enough for you? Uber (iOS, Android) has partnered with Blade (iOS, Android) to offer helicopter rides from New York to the Hamptons today … Read more

Star Apps: Kat Candler and Josh Wiggins of 'Hellion'

Star Apps: Kat Candler and Josh Wiggins of 'Hellion'

The Wilsons are the family Norman Rockwell forgot to paint. Hollis (Aaron Paul) is an alcohol-addicted, emotionally withdrawn widower. His delinquent son, Jacob (newcomer Josh Wiggins), is on a collision course with the law. Younger son Wes (Deke Garner), who is following in his brother's missteps, is ordered by Child Protective Services to live with his aunt Pam (Juliette Lewis). Writer-director Kat Candler doesn't shy away from this dissolving Texas family's struggles in her gripping new film, "Hellion." I chatted with Kat Candler and Josh Wiggins about this edgy indie and their favorite apps.

Kat … Read more

9 apps for the 4th of July

9 apps for the 4th of July

We celebrate the Fourth of July with backyard BBQ and "Independence Day" reruns. But the holiday's about honoring America's fiercely independent spirit and the patriots who fought for our enduring political freedoms. Nothing symbolizes the spirit of independence better than fireworks, which have been part of Fourth of July festivities since 1777. To find, photograph, or even play with fireworks, check out our picks for the best fireworks-themed apps.

Eventful

Not sure where to go for the best view of the fireworks? Eventful (iOS) is like Yelp for local activities. Get alerts and search for nearby … Read more

Star Apps: Body Count Featuring Ice-T

Star Apps: Body Count Featuring Ice-T

Rapper-actor Ice-T is a true original gangster. Best known to a younger generation as Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Ice-T originally felt more at home on the other side of the law, committing crimes and later writing lyrics about them. His most controversial song, recorded with with his band Body Count, is "Cop Killer," a polarizing track released between the Rodney King beating and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Body Count's latest album, "Manslaughter," came out earlier this month, and the band will promote it … Read more

Star Apps: Chad Channing

Star Apps: Chad Channing

When tragedies occur, like sustaining a major injury or being let go from one of the all-time greatest rock bands, some individuals would be quick to give up. Others, like musician Chad Channing, turn tragedy into triumph. Since being dismissed from Nirvana, Channing (best known for his drumming on "Bleach" and the "Blew" EP) has taken creative control and found his voice in a number of bands, including his latest, Before Cars. Influenced by Young Marble Giants, early David Bowie, and Soft Machine, the band's self-produced sophomore album, "How We Run," was released … Read more

Software week in review for June 27

Software week in review for June 27

Wear it, watch it, drive it, sweat it: That's what you'll be doing soon with Android and Chrome, according to news from the Google I/O conference. For the football fans, revisit our guide to watching the World Cup, and you can follow @ReplayLastGoal on Twitter to get video replay and an animated GIF of the latest goal. Read on for our I/O recap, and to get the latest reviews and features from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Google input/output

A billion fandroids can't be wrong. This week at I/… Read more