I personally find the terms “stoner” and “doom” to be rather limiting.  A lot of the bands listed here blend many influences together, however fans of these two genres will most likely find some common ground with most picks on this list.  I did have to eliminate a few releases that were awesome but would hardly qualify.  I had a hard time getting it down to 25 since there was so much good shit that came out last year.  You’ll see a lot of repeats from most year end lists with a few random picks that struck me personally but might not have been quite as popular.  The numbering system is mostly arbitrary, though I feel pretty confident in my top 10, some of which will contribute to my top 20 favorite tracks of last year list (not doom-specific).

1) Mountain Dust-Nine Years.  This one also has some of my favorite cover art for the year.

2) Khemmis-Hunted.  Cover art also dope as fuck.  This album rips so hard and is such a fun listen.  They’re like Pallbearer and Un if they partied harder.  JK those dudes probably party.  But you know what I mean.

3) Beastmaker-Lusus Naturae.  These homies from Fresno put on such a sick live set.  

4) Sumac-What One Becomes.  Probably the heaviest thing I got into last year.  Live set was massive.

5) 

5) Jayle Jayle-House Cricks and Other Excuses to Get Out.  I love this shit so much.  So much tension and americana goodness.  Minimalism at it’s finest.

6) Pallbearer-Fear and Fury EP.  These guys are blowing up and they deserve it.

7) Turnip-Window Killer. So sparse and AMAZING. Favorite song is “Coming for You.” I like this type of shit better than most standard doom and stoner shit.

8) Oak-Oak II.  Download this for free, my dude.  So robust and manly.  

9) Cobalt-Slow Forever.  This might’ve been higher if I had heard this earlier.  Still digesting but this is heavy as fuck.  

10) Cult of Luna-Mariner.

11) Conan-Revengence.  Conan throws in (GASP) blastbeats?  Their most listenable record so far.  They were honestly too low and heavy for me until I saw them live.  Then I REALLY got it.  “We are all nothing.  You are nothing.”

12)SubRosa-For This We Fought the Battle of Ages.  Seeing them live was amazing. 

13) Brant Bjork-Tao Of The Devil.  The way the dude says “Gree-heen” is hilarious.  Check out this music video.  Literally going to buy a van now.

14) 1000 Mods-Repeated Exposure To . . .

15) Graves at Sea-The Curse that Is.

16) Holy Serpent-Temples.

17) Lament Cityscape-Soft Tissue.

18) Ortega-Sacred States.  I with I had heard this earlier too.  

19) Elephant Tree-Elephant Tree.

20) Youngblood Supercut-High Plains.  I fucking love this track.

21) Slowmatics-Estronomicon.

22) Cough-Still They Prey.  They doom hard.

23) Truckfighters-V. 

24) Gozu-Revival.  Rock and roll, brother.  

25) The Hazytones-The Hazytones.

So you made weight.  Congratulations.  Now it’s time to do what you actually came here to do: the whole lifting of the weights thing.

I weighed in a whole kilo under what I needed to be last weekend.  and I was comfortable as fuck too which means I did a good job.  It then came time to ingest nutrients and more importantly, fluid as fast as possible so I wouldn’t be bloated and lazy when it came time to actually lift.  Remember, at BEST you only have 2 hours before your session starts.  I ended up with about an hour and a half.  So I took a grocery bag with me to weigh ins containing:

-Pedialyte

-Chocolate milk

-A banana

-Nutella

-Spoon

-Doritos

Remember a few key points from nutrition class: your body’s preferred fuel source is sugar, excess protein will basically be useless in the next 2 hours and fat slows down your digestion process.  So unless you want all this stuff sitting in your gut and not moving, I suggest you take it easy on anything fatty.  I had a spoonful of nutella to make me feel full and I was money.  The Doritos were just something salty to snack on but really served no other purpose.  The chocolate milk should be consumed first followed by you sipping on Pedialyte.  I drink other liquids as I compete, mostly just Redbull and shit like that.

If you start cramping while competing, don’t panic.  Just continue moving around and DO NOT sit down.  Pacing back and forth is preferred.

Once you’re done, go eat something delicious.  Just remember that you’re body will not be happy with you for the next couple days so don’t expect to feel really amazing right off the bat even after getting real food in you.

Hope this helps and good luck out there.

-Ben

Sup fatties,

So you still want to cut weight, huh? Well here’s how it’s going for me so far.  So I did my usual salt and water load early in the week.  By late Wednesday/early Thursday I was back to normal water consumption with no salt.  I’m a big fan of anything pickled and I was even chugging pickle juice Tuesday night. Try a shot of whiskey with a pickle back.  Delicious.  Side note: it’s a goal of mine to have a drink named after me consisting of a shot of Jamie and hot aus jus. 

So I landed in Florida and my BW was still 97.5. Not ideal.  But if you think about it, it’s cold as balls in Sacramento and I didn’t really train this week so I didn’t sweat at all.  So I trained today and took a bottle of saline laxative and I’m sitting pretty at 95.5 with a day and a 1/2 to lose the extra.  I’m money.  I’ll most likey get by without having to sauna which should be a last resort.  So this will probably be my last update before I lift but first, a couple of takeaways:

1) do your shopping for all your supplies, groceries and pedialyte right away.  That way you don’t have to worry about it later.

2) if you land at your destination heavy, don’t worry.  Just take care of your ABCs and the water should come off.

3) sauna should be your last resort.  

I’ll do a short post on what I do to rehydrate when I get back next week.  

I’m writing this because it could be of use to novice to intermediate lifters in the sport who perhaps do not work with a weightlifting coach.  I started my final weight cut yesterday for the American Open which for me will take place on Sunday.  But first, a couple of ground rules.

  1. I’m not a registered dietitian so I’m not qualified to give any advice when it comes to diet.
  2. Cutting weight is not done for health and is done at your own risk.
  3. This is a hard fact:  Cutting weight IS detrimental to weightlifting performance.  Given the rules of the sport, AT BEST we only have 2 hours to rehydrate and refuel after getting weighed in.  This process can often be as tricky as taking water out of our bodies and again, it’s only 2 hours so it’s impossible to get back to 100%.
  4. I do not recommend that anyone drop weight to make a weight class with 2 exceptions: you are trying to qualify for a national event or you are trying to get on the podium for a national event.  And again, there are further considerations here.  We’ve all seen lifters at local meets who are on the verge of barely qualifying in a lower weight class on their best day in the gym.  They starve and deplete themselves and then take attempts at weights that they have no business touching.  DO NOT BE THIS PERSON. DON’T DO IT.  STOP.  STOP IT NOW.  It always ends up like a train wreck.  Qualifying for national events is a big deal  and sometimes it’s worth it to just WAIT until you’re actually ready to be at one.
  5. I recommend to my lifters to not try to cut more than 3% of their bodyweight.  5% is the maximum for someone who is experienced both with this sport and cutting weight.  Yes, I’ve tried to cut more and done decently but I’ve also done not decently as well.  In either case, it’s not worth it.  I’ve been participating in weight class sports since I was 17, so I’m comfortable with the 5% range for myself.

K, so now that I got that out of the way, I started my cut yesterday.  I was exactly 1 week out and I weighed in at 97.5kg.  I’ve got to get down to 94.  That’s getting pretty close to 5% but still under, so this cut SHOULD go well for me.  The travel to the opposite end of the country will add to the difficulty but I’m overall confident.

I killed about a gallon of water yesterday and will try to hit close to 2 gallons today.  On top of that, I added salt to whatever I ate and had my last real decent meal yesterday.  This will bloat me up pretty good but by Wednesday I’ll even back out as I decrease salt and water.  By the time I take off Thursday morning, I’ll be back down to my original weight or perhaps a little bit less.  As far as diet goes, I don’t recommend significantly altering your regular “cutting” diet.  Remember, you’re worried about water this week, not fat.  If, you’ve  been good, than you’ve already shaved off enough fat going into this week.  As far as diet goes, SEEK HELP FROM A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL.  ONE WHO WORKS WITH ATHLETES.  NOT YOUR TRAINER.  NOT YOUR COACH.  NOT SOME BRO FROM THE GYM.  AND IF YOU’RE WORKING WITH SOMEONE ONLINE, FOR GOD’S SAKE MAKE SURE THEY HAVE PROPER CREDENTIALS.  DIET CREDENTIALS.  NOT WEIGHTLIFTING ONES.  I’m lucky enough to have a certified professional dietitian on my team and would recommend her to anyone if you are interested.

I’ll be back later in the week with an update.

I wrote this for my team the other day.  It’s something that I’m going to have to say again and again as long as I coach for a job.  At first it’s going to sound like NOT the right thing to say from the business standpoint.  But in my opinion it is the moral and ethical thing to say as a coach.  And the longer I do this job, the more comfortable I get and the less I care about what other people do besides myself and my group.  Personally speaking, weightlifting was not a healthy habit for me for a long time.  That doesn’t have to be the case for you or any of my lifters.  Hear me.

Gang,

Learning and eventually mastering a skill set is both a noble and incredibly difficult thing; even for such a skill as irrelevant to your life as weightlifting. But you have to enjoy going through it. You have to learn to take progress as it comes (and goes) and get some level of gratification out of it. If you can’t do this, then I honestly would rather you didn’t lift at all or lift elsewhere. We have an incredibly competitive but also a positive environment. I want you to enjoy it.
Do this after every practice:
Say to yourself TWO positive things that happened or TWO things that you are proud of that you did at practice.
If you can’t do that, it’s time to take a break. Progress and enjoyment while lifting weights is a lot like your world view. If you think you’re shitty and you suck then guess what: your progress and enjoyment will reflect that. The same goes for the opposite end of the spectrum.  If you’re overly satisfied with doing the work that is expected of you, then obviously you won’t be hungry enough to earn progress.  Somewhere in there, there’s a happy medium.
As always, I’m a resource for you guys. Take me aside during team hours if you’re having a rough time with training and we can find a solution to make your training work for you.

With care and respect,
-Ben

I have a message for you,

Nothing bothers you for the next 3 weeks.  Understand?  All your problems that you have right now, and there’s sure to be many because ’tis the season and all that, WILL be there when you get back from Florida.  So relax.  You’ve come this far.  You’ve obviously made weightlifting a priority in your life even if you’re there to get dead last in the J session.  So take it seriously.  Unless you plan on stepping on the podium, you’re going to Florida to lose.  And that’s OK.  Take it seriously and go out there and compete.  That’s how you have fun in this sport.

“But that’s not a balanced or healthy mindset.”

Guess what: neither is peaking for sport; which by definition is not natural or done for health.  You obviously don’t care about that since you’ve gotten unnaturally strong enough to compete at the American Open.  So live it up for the next few weeks.  And when it’s all over, eat too much, have a drink or two with your true friends and take care of the rest of your life.  Don’t go right back to the squat rack (unless of course you ARE one of the top lifters in the country and this is basically your job).

I’m going to eat one last decent meal on Thanksgiving and enjoy my family and friends.  After that, I plan on being as extreme as I god damn want to be.  I’ll see you on the other side.

Embrace this Moment.

November 16, 2016

Last week, I trained with the team instead of by myself.  It was the most cathartic and healing feeling I’ve had in a long time.

Occam 2×15.

October 30, 2016

I’m back on here.  Just in time for my end of the year favorite tracks playlist.  My dad and I made this cab the other day to replace the purple one I made for the gym PA/my guitar rig. It’s got the same Eminence Redcoat series “Big Ben” 15’s that I’ve been using but the red wood stain suits my tastes better.  Peep the Occam symbols in the speaker hole cut outs.  The frame is 12 ply Plywood and the front baffle and back is regular 3/4 inch that we used for the competition platform of our meet we held last month.

I’m going to make an effort to post here once a week simply because I think it’s a healthy habit to sit down and write something every now and then.

IMG_2286.JPG

Big Lifts in LA.

August 18, 2016

I figuratively “hit some dingers” at my buddy, Jon’s meet in LA last weekend.  Snatches were OK. I hit 145kg on my 3rd.  But I went OFF on my clean and jerks.  3/3.  175kg, 180kg, 186kg for an all-time PR.  Footage shot by Rex Flores.  If you live in So-Cal and want some video work done by a pro, holler atchyer boi.

SoCal Rotation.

August 11, 2016

So If you have not already, go check out the Doom Charts for August.  A lot of really good recent releases are highlighted.  Here’s a few that will be on my rotation as I drive from Sacramento to LA this weekend.

  1. Slow Season-Westing.  Like an idiot, I missed their set last week because I was busy eating tacos before Black Pussy put on an amazing performance.  These guys are like a modern Led Zeppelin.
  2. Mountain Dust-Nine Years.  Heavy HEAVY blues.  Check those vocals too, homie.
  3. Turnip-Window Killers.  Atmospheric, psychedelic and HEAVY americana.  This is my shit.
  4. Oak-Oak II.  Ballsy desert rock.  Also FREE.
  5. Vokonis-Olde One Ascending.  This one will make you want to put on a cape and start a LARP team on the weekends.

Again, go check out the blog for ALL the good shit that came out recently.  This is just what I’m going to be bumping this weekend while driving (along this the Khemmis album that dropped last year.  I saw them destroy eardrums last night.)