The Download Blog

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

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 Hollis (Aaron Paul) is an alcohol-addicted, emotionally withdrawn widower.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

Star Apps: 'Transformers: Age of Extinction'

Star Apps: 'Transformers: Age of Extinction'

For young actors Jack Reynor ("What Richard Did," "Delivery Man,") and Nicola Peltz ("Deck the Halls," "The Last Airbender," "Bates Motel"), working on "Transformers: Age of Extinction" was exciting and educational. They learned from director Michael Bay and seasoned actors like Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Kelsey Grammer. Reynor and Peltz gave me the behind-the-scenes scoop on the fourth installment of the "Transformers" series, which opens today, and raved about their favorite apps.

You're both young actors. When you are on set with more seasoned … Read more

Google I/O recap: Major Android news; Chrome OS update

Google I/O recap: Major Android news; Chrome OS update

Today Google kicked off its annual I/O conference with announcements about Android, Chrome OS, its answer to Apple's HealthKit, and the next generation of developer tools.

Introducing Android L: Android OS's KitKat successor doesn't have a name yet, but it'll begin with L. The platform update will attempt to unite Web and app user experiences through the Material Design interface. Developers will be able to use Google's new Polymer toolkit to design Web apps that look like their Android counterparts, including 3D rendering. Android L also promises notifications on the lock screen (like iOS … Read more

Star Apps: Earth, Wind & Fire

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