The Download Blog

Star Apps: Richard Linklater

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

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: Fitz and the Tantrums

Star Apps: Fitz and the Tantrums

Don't let the name fool you: Few bands brighten a bad mood like Fitz and the Tantrums. The LA-based neo-soul group's sophomore release, "More Than Just a Dream," has already spawned hit singles "The Walker" and "Out of My League." Now the band is spreading the sunshine on its summer and fall tour. I chatted with lead vocalist Michael Fitzpatrick (aka Fitz) about how music uplifts him, musical influences and inspirations, and his favorite apps while on the road.

Your music is so celebratory. What can fans coming to the current tour … Read more

7 Android launchers to refresh your home screen

7 Android launchers to refresh your home screen

Your home should be comfortable, and so should your home screen. With an Android launcher, you can replace your phone or tablet's boring factory settings with themes, widgets, and other customizable options to make your home screen more homey. Here are our top seven picks to help you renovate your Android experience.

Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher is one of the most direct ways of getting the original Android home-screen experience. First introduced with the Moto X phone, the Google Now Launcher preserves the visual experience of KitKat for those with custom-themed versions of Android, and it comes … Read more

Star Apps: G-Eazy

Star Apps: G-Eazy

G-Eazy is not passive about his career, as his new album title, "These Things Happen," might imply. "No, they don't just happen," said the Bay Area rapper in our recent interview. "That's one of the twists to the title, that you have to kill yourself for 10 years, working so hard at something, to finally see something happen." I chatted with the Billboard chart-topper and MTV Artist to Watch, who is finally making his mark, about his rhyming style, his fan base, and his favorite apps.

On Wikipedia it says that you … Read more

Star Apps: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

Star Apps: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," set a decade after humanity and its power supply are nearly decimated, portrays the difficulty of rebuilding civilization without software. How would one navigate without Google Maps, see at night without Flashlight, or speak to intelligent life without FaceTime? Virtual city building via Minecraft or Civilization is also off the menu. But what if there was a way to get power from a hydroelectric dam? The only obstacle is a nation of spiteful super apes. That's the predicament for surviving humans in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.&… Read more

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