Albums Of The Year (So Far)

Music speaks to me. I enjoy the occasional album that has a good beat and solid production, but most of what really gets me is music you can tell is written from the artist’s experience, or music that is written as a social commentary of some kind.

That, paired with solid music and production, is what a gold record sounds like.

There have been a handful of albums I’ve heard over the past few years that I’ve enjoyed. So far this year, that list can be whittled down to three albums and a single. I’m not going to link to the albums below, as you can find them all on Spotify or Apple Music… I’ll use the headers to link to some live performances (where available) instead.

Fair warning for anyone playing this music at work: A few of the songs on these albums are “Explicit.”

Dermot Kennedy (Self-Titled Album)

A compilation of a lot of singles, EP’s and a couple new songs, this is a fantastic singer-songwriter album that captures a lot of emotion. If you like piano- or acoustic guitar-driven music, chances are you’ll really enjoy this one.

A lot of Dermot’s songs are really gritty, a little bit dark, and have the ability to punch you right in the feels. Lyrically, every song is an interesting listen. Musically, you can tell that he and his crew are extremely talented. (Link above is to their NPR Tiny Desk Concert).

At 27 yrs., we’re the same age. Every time I listen to his music, I think to myself, “Man! Why didn’t I write that?” (The answer’s because this guy really works at it, and puts a lot of effort into developing his musical skills and gifts. 😬)

Favorite tracks include:

  • An Evening I Will Not Forget (Acoustic)
  • All My Friends (Acoustic)
  • Moments Passed
  • Glory
  • After Rain
  • Shelter
  • etc., etc., etc.

Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent – Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi, 22, has also been releasing singles and EP’s since 2017, and just recently put out his first full album. While the production on this album is a little heavier-handed than a lot of singer-songwriter music, for the most part it’s still relatively simple, and can be enjoyed in most listening environments.

Favorite tracks include:

  • Grace
  • Fade
  • Hold Me While You Wait
  • Hollywood
  • Someone You Loved
  • Maybe
  • Don’t Get Me Wrong
  • (Yes, seriously, there are a lot of great tracks to choose from here.)

Doom Days – Bastille

I’ve been listening to Bastille since they released Bad Blood in 2013. The single, “Pompeii,” really got my attention, and once the full album was released it turned out that it wasn’t even the album’s best song (like a lot of singles).

When Doom Days first dropped, I was initially gripped by the title track’s commentary on today’s cultural norms. It’s a fantastic track… I linked to a live performance in the header.

Favorite tracks include:

  • Quarter Past Midnight
  • Doom Days
  • Joy
  • Divide
  • Million Pieces

Bonus Single: Shadow – Macklemore & IRO

We watched Songland on Hulu this past month. One of the episodes featured Macklemore and some really talented songwriters. The song he chose, “Shadow,” was written by a street performer. It was presented as a chorus and a bridge, since Macklemore writes all of his verses.

The moment when he tells the writer, IRO, that he wants him featured on the song for he chorus and bridge will give you chills. Forty days after they started working together on the song, they performed the finished version live at one of Macklemore’s concerts (I’ve linked to the live video in the header).


What have been some of your favorite albums this year? Looking for other songs that both say something and really jam.

Comments are open!

Everyday Carries Are For The Sentimental Type

I got into Reddit’s Everyday Carry sub, r/EDC, a little while ago. It’s one of the things that encouraged me to start writing hand-written notes again, and also made me want to start carrying one of my favorite knives again (instead of a folding utility blade) on a daily basis.

There’s just something about the items you carry with you every day… Taking them along adds some sentimental value that you may be able to pass on to your kids. I’ve never been the sentimental type, but I’m finding myself more and more so as I step deeper into fatherhood (read: only almost two years).

That said, I thought I’d share a bit about what’s typically hitching a ride on my person every day.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. — “Walden” by H.D. Thoreau

— “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport

I just like that quote. Don’t read into it too much; it’s not super relevant.

Alright. Here we go.

Watch: Skagen Theodor. This watch is nice and simple; the lack of a second hand says, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” It has a thin, lightweight profile, and goes with just about anything, save a black suit and tie (I have a similar Skagen that was gifted to me for such special occasions). Unfortunately this Theodor model was discontinued, so when the original strap busted on me, I had to replace it with the strap from an old Fossil watch I had lying around.

Wallet: TGT Nightcall 2.0. This wallet is a great solution for anyone trying to limit the number of items they’re carrying around every day. It’s made of heavy-duty elastic and leather, and comfortably holds 5-10 cards and some folded cash. It’s way more comfortable to sit on and carry than any leather bi-fold or tri-fold wallet I’ve ever owned.

Knife: Boker Plus Hyper. This knife ended my childhood “knife collecting” interest. I did my research to make sure that it had steel that would last a long time, was the right size and shape, and would fit comfortably in my side or back pocket (deep pocket clip). Like the watch, this little guy has also been discontinued, but there are a lot of very similar models from Boker and other quality companies (from what I’ve seen online).

Pen: Pilot G-2 0.38. These pens have been my go-to for the past six or seven years. You can buy them in bulk from Amazon at a rate that comes out at just over a buck a piece. I like the ultra-fine gel pens because they create really clean lines and use much less ink. This means that dry-time is a little shorter, and the pens are a little more versatile. I like doodling and sketching, so it’s nice to have something that checks the box for both of those use cases.

Notebook: Moleskine Cahier (Dotted). Fantastic for weekly planners, notes, to-do lists, and journaling. Fits in my pocket. I never leave home without it. (And did I mention the dot-grid!?) You can read more about how I use mine here!

Not Pictured: Smartphone (an unfortunate essential), Kindle (depending on the day), Yeti 10/20oz Rambler (coffee, water, whiskey… what can’t you use a Yeti for?).

What items go everywhere with you? Why? I’m curious to hear about it… Comments are open!

Spatial Recall

For a long time I considered myself well-versed in the art of memorization.

Growing up I participated in these church events called “Bible quizzing.” In this C&MA-run extra-curricular, you memorized entire books of the Bible, and had to be the first answer questions with as little context as possible in order to score points for your team. It took a lot of work, a lot of practice, and a lot of time to commit all of those verses to memory. Unfortunately, today I can recall only a few of those verses, and virtually none of them by reference alone. Memorization was possible—and there was a path forward for it—but it wasn’t easy.

How about dates? I’m terrible at memorizing dates. You may have a birthday that comes around every year, but without some kind of reminder on a calendar, or having you tell me that today is your birthday, chances are I’ll never remember it. I have a hard enough time keeping our family’s anniversaries and birthdays in order.

Names can be tough, too. I’ve learned that in order to memorize these, I either have to have the person tell me their name on more than one occasion, or write their name down after the first time I meet them. It feels terrible when you really hit it off with someone the first time you meet, and then you can’t remember their name five minutes later.

Some things do come naturally. Song lyrics. Movie quotes. Spaces I’ve been in. These all seem to take almost no effort to recall—I can usually rattle off quotes or draw you a picture of a room after being exposed to a song or space between one and three times. For instance, I’m pretty confident I could draw you the layout of the beautiful Flagler College visitor center foyer and courtyard (structurally, and without the incredible art that actually exists in that space), though I’ve only been there a few times. Same deal with a lot of homes, public establishments and parks I’ve visited.

Some types of memorization comes more easily to some people than it does to others.

What do you find comes naturally for you? What do you have to really work at?

Dad Habits

I love my son. Without a doubt, he is one of the few best things that ever happened to me. The smiles he brings into our home and the giggles and laughter (and even sometimes the fits he throws) all ultimately bring loads of joy into our home.

20 mos. old and practically a toddler, he’s running around the house and repeating words and short phrases. By the time he’s in bed and we’ve wrapped up dinner, its usually only a few hours until we need to hit the hay ourselves.

Continue reading “Dad Habits”

How I Make My Cold Brew

You know how sometimes you’re searching for a recipe, and you find what you’re looking for… but first the author has to tell you a 850 word story about the last time they made the recipe, and how much everyone liked it?

Well, this isn’t that. You’re welcome.

I like my cold brew concentrate a little stronger, over ice, so if that’s what you’re looking for, read on!

Continue reading “How I Make My Cold Brew”