Consumer software and hardware

Star Apps: Cabaret Voltaire

When electropunk trio Cabaret Voltaire performed its first show in Sheffield in 1975, Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder, and Chris Watson were assaulted by the mostly antagonistic crowd. The band fared better between 1978 and 1985, when they signed a deal with Virgin and developed a more commercial, club-friendly "pop" sound. Now down to single member, Richard H. Kirk, Cabaret Voltaire pays tribute to its golden, major-label era with the new 18-track compilation "#7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985)," featuring boundary-pushing electronic gems "Nag Nag Nag," "Do the Mussolini (Headkick)," "Sensoria," &… Read more

Star Apps: Michael Pitt

Actor Michael Pitt is best known for playing a gangster on "Boardwalk Empire," a murderous psychopath in "Funny Games," and a drugged-out grunge rocker in "Last Days." With "I Origins," he demonstrates range with his credible portrayal of Dr. Ian Gray, a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye, who makes a discovery that challenges all his deep-held scientific theories and spiritual beliefs.

This role seems like a definite departure from your previous work. What drew you to playing a scientist? Maybe that. One of the things I was really interested … Read more

Star Apps: Richard Linklater

Nothing dates a film like technology. However, the iMacs, Game Boys, PlayStations, social media, and video games in Richard Linklater's groundbreaking new movie, "Boyhood," are a welcome way to contextualize 12 years of action. I chatted with Richard Linklater about "Boyhood," which stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, and its use of tech as a structural device.

You typically make movies that span 12 to 24 hours, yet this film spans 12 years. Why mess with your signature style? It blows my average out of the water, if you adjust the baseline. With each film, … Read more

Star Apps: Zach Braff

Zach Braff is used to having doors shut in his face. An actor since the age of 13, Braff didn't get his big break on "Scrubs" till he was twice that age. There was initially zero interest in his first major movie, the indie breakout "Garden State," or his new film, "Wish I Was Here." Naysayers warned that he'd never get the latter film funded via Kickstarter. But Braff has persevered. His "Wish I Was Here" character, Aidan Bloom, hasn't been quite so lucky, struggling to make it as … Read more

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

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

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

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

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

Star Apps: Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire's longtime frontman, Philip Bailey, talks about jazz as if he's talking about a school sweetheart. "Jazz was always my first musical genre love," he says. "[Music] always feels like it's an astro-travel of sorts." Fans can go along for the ride June 28-29 when eight-time Grammy winners and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame members Earth, Wind & Fire headline the Saratoga Jazz Festival, which also features Trombone Shorty, Patti Austin, and Terence Blanchard. Bailey is promoting his new album, "Now, Then & Forever," and his autobiography, &… Read more