Music and audio

Star Apps: Colbie Caillat

When Colbie Caillat began work on her fourth album, the uptempo "Gypsy Heart," the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer was at a career crossroads. The record label wanted her to capitalize on the recent success of Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz" with a sexier release, but Caillat was unsure. A fortunate intervention from producer Babyface kept the singer true to herself and resulted in anthemic single "Try," which admonishes women to embrace their truest beauty. The accompanying video has garnered 25 million views on YouTube and Vevo. Colbie Caillat opened up to me about rediscovering her authentic self, … Read more

Star Apps: Jasmine V

There are many ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through October 15. You can brush up on Latin Music, Learn Salsa Dancing, try out Spanish Food Recipes, Learn Spanish with Babbel or Duolingo, or teach your children the Mayan alphabet with The Game of Alphabet of Maya. Or you can rock some Latin pop. I spoke with Jasmine V, who has a new single, "That's Me Right There," featuring Kendrick Lamar, that's burning up YouTube.

Why does Hispanic Heritage Month matter? Hispanic Heritage Month is so important to me because I feel like we'… Read more

Star Apps: Phantogram

Electronic rock duo Phantogram is named after an optical illusion that makes 2D images appear 3D, but the talents of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter are plain to see and hear. I chatted with Carter about the twosome's most recent album, "Voices," the meanings behind some of their most heartfelt lyrics, keeping their almost 20-year friendship alive, and his favorite apps.

On both of your albums, the name Lucy keeps coming up. Who's Lucy? Lucy is an imaginary character that we made up. When I was writing "When I'm Small," there was a … Read more

Star Apps: Richard Reed Parry

When Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry produced his solo album of classical compositions, "Music for Heart and Breath," he made it as much for himself as he did for fans. "For me it has a centering quality and brings me in touch with some quality of quiet inner voice and inner rhythm that perhaps gets lost in one's daily life," he says. Parry is currently touring the album. I chatted with Richard Reed Parry about making the album, the challenges of working solo, his stage show, and his favorite apps.

What are the unique … Read more

5 apps for iTunes backup and recovery

If your system crashes and your entire iTunes library vanishes, you may think that your music, videos, and photos are gone for good. But before you excavate your CDs and photos from storage to re-rip and re-scan, check out these top five apps for restoring your files with just one click.

Sharepod ( Windows, Mac)

Sharepod transfers your tunes, videos, podcasts, and photos from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad to your Windows or Mac computer with just one click -- for just $20. You get 50 transfers for free before purchase. Sharepod also comes with a helpful database backup should anything … Read more

Star Apps: Sharon Needles

Scare queen Sharon Needles has long regarded Facebook as a necessary evil. On the one hand, it's "nothing but a bunch of teenage f--- brats, seeing who they can piss off the most." But on the other hand, the popular social media site is a way for the "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 4 winner to connect with fans and share album releases and tour dates. Now that Facebook is forcing users to use their legal names or risk losing their accounts, the performance artist has downgraded her opinion to just plain evil. I chatted … Read more

Star Apps: Chris Jericho

"Do You Wanna Start a War," the title track on Fozzy's sixth studio album, is a self-empowerment song about defeating the opposition. Lead singer Chris Jericho knows a thing or two about this very thing, as he's twice proved detractors wrong: first as a wrestler and later as a rock singer. He's a six-time WWE champion with a top 20 rock album, shows with Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold under his belt, and a current tour. I chatted with Chris Jericho about overcoming the haters, the lessons he's learned, his recent death hoax, and his … Read more

Star Apps: Dan Stevens

War is hell, and so are ungracious houseguests. That's what one unsuspecting family discovers when David, a soldier just back from combat (played by Dan Stevens), crashes at their home in "The Guest." I chatted with Dan Stevens, the British actor best known for playing attorney and would-be heir Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," about his latest role, becoming an American heartthrob, and his favorite apps.

What was the appeal of playing this particular character? When I came here to the States, I was looking for different challenges and didn't quite know what form … Read more

Star Apps: 'Sixteen Candles'

"Sixteen Candles" has just turned 30. To mark this momentous event, actors Gedde Watanabe, Debbie Pollack, and Justin Henry are attending a special screening of the '80s cult classic today at San Francisco's Castro Theatre. I chatted with the trio about the film's legacy, working with director John Hughes, the scenes that you've never seen, and their favorite apps.

Gedde Watanabe (Long Duk Dong)

Did growing up somewhat alienated as an Asian-American in Utah inform your portrayal of foreign exchange student Long Duk Dong? Absolutely not. [Laughs] There was some of the alienation where I … Read more

Star Apps: Julie Newmar

When you're an actress as inimitable as Julie Newmar, of course you have a rose, a day lily, and an orchid named in your honor. In 1995 she also inspired (and made a cameo appearance in) "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar." Best known for playing Catwoman on the "Batman" TV series, Newmar will appear as part of the California Independent Film Festival's screening of "To Wong Foo." I chatted with Julie Newmar about her most iconic roles, working with the late Robin Williams, her chemistry with Adam West, the … Read more