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Star Apps: Daniel Ash

Daniel Ash (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, Tones on Tail) prefers not to revisit his band years, but that doesn't mean he's no longer in love with much of the material he and his bandmates produced. So much so that for his new album, "Stripped," he reimagines 12 of his favorite classic tracks in a contemporary context. I chatted with Ash about why he prefers disco to goth when DJing, CDs to Serato, and YouTube to Facebook.

How long have you been DJing? I've been doing it for about 20 years. I started off in a … Read more

Star Apps: Yelle

Yelle singer Julie Budet calls the production of the band's third album completely crazy, from changes in musical direction and recording studios to getting to work with producer Dr. Luke (Katy Perry, Robin Thicke, and Britney Spears). There was so much crazy that Yelle decided to title its third album "Complètement Fou." The French-language release is best appreciated with the Yelle Translator app, which toggles between French and English lyrics. I chatted with Julie Budet about the musically diverse album and the tour, working with Dr. Luke, being buried in blue popcorn, whether she'll … Read more

Star Apps: The Madden Brothers

Maryland-born brothers Benji and Joel Madden always dreamed of making it in California. After 14 years of pop-punk success in Good Charlotte and 10 years as California residents, the two are now performing as The Madden Brothers, and they're sending fans a postcard that reads "We made it!" in the form of new album "Greetings From California." I chatted with Benji Madden, who will soon tour with his brother.

You shocked a lot of people recently when you pulled the plug on Good Charlotte. It freaked a lot of people out when we said we … Read more

Star Apps: Callan McAuliffe

"Kite" is an anime turned live-action movie about Sawa (India Eisley), a young prostitute who becomes an assassin to avenge her parents' murders. You might think it's another formulaic vigilante movie. However, bolstered by an engrossing revenge story, an expert performance by lead actor Callan McAuliffe ("The Great Gatsby," "I Am Number Four") as Sawa's sidekick, Oburi, and thrilling action sequences, "Kite" soars.

Have you seen the original Japanese film? Yes, I saw it shortly after being cast in the film. It's supremely violent and very, very sexual, and … Read more

Star Apps: Michael Cuesta

When Michael Cuesta ("L.I.E.," "12 and Holding," "Homeland") signed on as director of "Kill the Messenger," starring Jeremy Renner as Pulitzer Prize-winning San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb, he was already familiar with Webb's controversial story. What he didn't yet know was how much he had in common with the late investigative reporter, who exposed the CIA for engaging in cocaine smuggling to fund Nicaraguan Contra militias. "Gary Webb wasn't what people imagine journalists to be, like snobby intellectuals," he said. "He loved … Read more

Star Apps: Paul Budnitz

A year ago, Ello founder Paul Budnitz was frustrated with all the ad-driven, privacy-compromising social networks, so the established entrepreneur (Budnitz Bicycles, Kidrobot) decided to form his own. For a year, the site was limited to Budnitz and his 100 closest friends, but as demand to join increased, he opened it up to the public. Initially Ello saw a healthy 10 to 15 percent growth rate -- until a combination of dissatisfaction with Facebook's name policy, media attention, and word of mouth thrust Ello into the spotlight. I chatted with Paul Budnitz about Ello's explosive growth, what it … Read more

Star Apps: Suzi Quatro

When rock icon Suzi Quatro picked up her first guitar in the '50s, she had no women role models, so she turned to Elvis. "I had an epiphany that I knew that I wanted to be just like him -- at that age," she said. "It's crazy that it happened that young. But I have always been aware of my path." Over the course of a 50-year career, Quatro has won legions of fans for singles such as "Can the Can," "If You Can't Give Me Love," "Stumblin' In&… Read more

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