José González released a new version of his lo-fi-ish folk-art tune, “Line Of Fire,” from his solo album, Local Valley, on Friday. This time the song was recorded by his band Junip and joins with Sharon Van Etten. In an email announcing the release of the single, he states,

Junip (my band project with Tobias Winterkorn and Elias Araya and on hiatus since 2015) have released the original recording of “Line of Fire” featuring added vocals by Sharon Van Etten. The track comes as a part of the soundtrack for the documentary Wild Life from Oscar-winning filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, which chronicles the close relationship of conservationist Kris Tompkins, the first CEO of outdoor brand Patagonia, and her husband Douglas Tompkins. Wild Life is released on Disney+ and Hulu today. We love the new version of Line of Fire with Sharon Van Etten’s voice! We got asked by producer and filmmaker Jimmy Chin if we could think of a female voice to add to the song. Our thoughts went to Sharon with her beautiful voice and dramatic range. We’ve also toured together back in 2010 and even performed a duet towards the end of the run of shows and so it felt natural to reunite. As a duet the song has a different feel that fit the film perfectly.

It is very different from the Local Valley track, but I liked the video so much that I bought the single.



I have long been a fan of Janine Jansen, but only recently acquired her album, Prokofiev. I just happened to be investigating what was available from the site, HDTracks, and found the album in 24 bit HiRes. I was so close to buying the download from Presto Music in 16 bit. I am so glad I checked out HDTracks as it is a wonderfully recorded album, well deserving of a 24 bit release. It is so strange that Presto Music does not offer the download in 24 bit. They are quite often so good about that. That being said, I would urge caution about using HDTracks. Their albums are more expensive in general and their download process is just unacceptably slow. I don’t plan to buy from them too often again. It is a beautiful album. But then, I have yet to hear a Janine Jansen album that isn’t beautiful.



This is a difficult discussion to have, but it does come up often and I know there are always people out there looking for just the right kind of advice. I can only offer what my experience has offered me. I did go through a phase where I was buying headphones after headphones, looking for just the right quality of sound. Here are a few things to consider.

Number one: If you are in need of, want a pair of, and are only seeking wireless headphones, nothing you read about any of them will matter. Yes, some may sound better than others, but expense likely won’t make a difference. Let me tell you and listen closely: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WIRELESS HiRes. Once you go wireless, you cut off sound quality. Yes, some may still sound good, but you will not get the full experience going wireless. Not to mention if you are looking for wireless headphones you are probably listening to music from an app on your phone and you will absolutely not get HiRes that way. Don’t listen to what Apple Music and Qobuz have to say. Phone + wireless headphones does NOT equal optimum quality. End of story. If you must, don’t spend too much. And don’t believe the reviews online. Most of that is nonsense.

Number two: If you are going to do this the right way you will need a.) wired* headphones and b.) a HiRes music player. I cannot offer you better choices in the department of HiRes music players than FiiO or Astell&Kern. Hard to go wrong with those. Still, READ THE SPECS before you buy – and be sure to pay attention to the full variety of options available, even with just those two companies. Also, being someone who once had a large collection of headphones, at the end of the day I sold them all except two. Yes, all of them expect two. I kept my Focal Clear MG (though there are better Focal headphones you can get) [update: if anyone does get Focal headphones for a HiRes music player, you may find you will need upgrade cables. Please shop around. Search engines will point you to the most expensive ones and there are many more affordable upgrade cables that are just fine.] and I kept my Grado RS1x. Those two have been all I need. If I were rich I would get the Sennheiser HD 800S Dynamic Open-Back headphones. Those are really the only other headphones I have the slightest interest in. Perhaps one day in the future I will be able to get them. My point is, don’t make the mistake I made and go through all the fuss of trying many headphones seeking that perfect sound. Getting just the right headphones from the start will be best. But, again, without a HiRes music player or HiRes albums, you don’t need expensive headphones anyways. So, don’t waste your money on badly written reviews, because I am telling you – no matter how trustworthy a music related reviews website seems, they all lie. They are all full of it.

If you insist on just listening to music from an app streaming service you can still get good headphones and since you are likely listening on your phone you might as well go wireless. Don’t spend over $400. Really, it is criminal to be spending that much for wireless in the first place, but with the market being what it is you could very easily find yourself doing just that. I’m not going to tell you what to get if you are in this situation as it will all come down to personal preference and the quality of the sound between one company or another will all be in your head. (Still, I will offer that it would be in your best interest to stay away from Sony despite the claims they make about their technology or the raving reviews they get. Just a fair warning. Go ahead and waste your money if you must. You are free to be a fool.)

One last thing. If you are looking for IEMs instead of headphones look closely at FiiO. They have a large range of available options, some less expensive than others. Every pair of FiiO IEMs I have listened to has been just awesome. I did sell them all except for my FH9 IEMs, because, really, those are so good I didn’t want to listen to the others anymore. Still, the far less expensive FiiO IEMs are still great.

Please note I didn’t say anything about wireless earbuds for a reason. If that is what you need, that is what you need and there is really no reason for you to be reading this post. Just go do your own thing. I hope they make you happy.

[editing note: yes, I saw the typos and I believe they have all been corrected]



I was hoping – that maybe – there would be new singles from Hilary Hahn and/or Camille Thomas today, being Friday, as they both have recently released singles. This morning’s releases did not disappoint!

Clearly Hilary Hahn has a new Eugène Ysaÿe album coming out soon. This is the second Eugène Ysaÿe single she has released. I am beyond excited. “Obsession” has long been one of my favorite Ysaÿe pieces and here Hilary performs it as though she is back in her stride, peaking her evergreen peak after the less than stellar most recent album, Eclipse. Both her recent singles are well worth buying ahead of the album.

Ysaÿe: 6 Sonatas for Violin Solo, Op. 27 / Sonata No. 2 in A Minor: I. Obsession. Prèlude (Single) [released May 26th] – can be found in HiRes FLAC here.

Camille Thomas (pronounced Camie Thoma) continues her Chopin releases. That now makes two Chopin records and two recent Chopin singles. I’m in love with her cello style and may or may not have acquired unreleased live recordings of her performances not on her albums. I may be her biggest fan in the U.S., though that is questionable as I am sure she has many obsessed fans. I do know she is just adored in France and other parts of Europe. Though she is most likely just competing with herself, or rather, living expressed emotions through the cello, she may not realize she is also competing to be the finest cellist in the recording world right now. In fact, I seriously doubt she realizes this.

Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11: II. Larghetto (Arr. for Cello and Piano by J. Brocal and C. Thomas / Single) [released May 26th] – can be found in HiRes FLAC here.

Update: [6:58 am] Yes, I have been listening to Hilary Hahn play “Obsession” over and over again. And it is not just her playing. The quality of the recording is outstanding. Deutsche Grammophon only really gets that right about half the time.

Update 2: [10:16 pm] Hilary Hahn’s new album will be released on July 14th. More information here.

I saw a few places that the next album in Camille Thomas’s Chopin Project will be released on June 6th, and it is the third and final installment. However, I could not find clarification on that. Very frustrating. One would think that would be easy to find. So don’t hold me to that information. June 6th makes no sense as it is not a Friday, so who really knows what is going on. I imagine if the third album is the final installment there will be a follow up collection of all three albums, probably on SACD. As always I don’t recommend spending the money on SACDs. Not unless you really have the home audio set up that can make the best of CDs in general. And not too many people can afford that kind of set up (you know who you are. I see you. Blind rich folks). Instead, get the HiRes 24 bit digital albums. SACDs are not 24 bit. The HiRes digital album will sound better than the SACD every time. But, then again, I really can’t tell you what they will sound like if you do not have a HiRes music player. They can be expensive, but if you are out there listening to music for half the day every day, I think they are a worthwhile investment.