Thursday, April 16, 2015

DJ QBert @DEAD Magazine

Here's an interview I did with the legendary DJ QBert for DEAD Magazine. Please feel free to check it out.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Straight Outta Compton - Red Band Trailer

I can't wait to see this one!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Noll Tolerans / Totalt Jävla Mörker

Yeah, I told you. beats, breaks & big smiles would be a bit different this time around. No longer sticking to just one genre, I will now post any music that I like, no matter what form. So to start off 2015 with a bit of anger and force I give you two new videos from Noll Tolerans and Totalt Jävla Mörker. Enjoy (or not). 

Top 10 Albums of 2014

The last few years I have posted a countdown of my favourite albums each year. At the end of 2014 I did that too, but this time on Instagram. I was going to leave it at that, but I might as well give a quick rundown here too.

1. Hurula - Vi är människorna våra föräldrar varnade oss för
2. Young Fathers - Dead
3. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2
4. Behemoth - The Satanist
5. Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait
6. Sun Kil Moon - Benji
7. Strand of Oaks - Heal
8. Sadistik - Ultraviolet
9. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
10. Triune Gods - Three Cornered World

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Walter Gross - Cosmic Joke

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Back At it Again But Slightly Different This Time Around

Almost a year since I last wrote something here. A year when I was more tired of music than usual and when I was more tired of most things than usual. 
I always knew that this page would not rest forever. I wasn't quite sure what exactly to do with it though. I'm still not sure. 
As I wrote a year ago, it just wasn't fun anymore doing this. Writing reviews for records that only the artists themselves read, looking more and more like a fan boy for a quite incestious scene. A scene I still love, but nevertheless it felt too restricted and too boring in the long run to just write about that. 
So what's new this time around? Well, this will no longer be all about alternative rap as it has been before. It will be me posting random music videos that I happen to like no matter genre. It might be the odd interview now and then. No pretence, no goal and no ego. Just music. 
You can love it or leave it. It will be whatever it ends up as. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Future of the Blog

Some people may have read my post on Facebook saying that the blog will take an indefinite break. That is true and I just like to explain more closely as to why I've taken this decision and what it all really means. First off all, beats, breaks & big smiles is not dead. Far from it. I've just come to the realisation that I'm not quite sure anymore what I want to do with it.
What started out as a personal blog many years ago and later turned in to one about music have always been there for one reason mainly. For my own pleasure. I love to write, and why not then let other people take part of my writing and my opinions. And it's really been great. I've got to know some amazing people through the blog, and discovered all kinds of great music. In the end though it felt that I more and more just wrote reviews that no one's really interested in, and I can't blame them. I don't read other blogs, so why should anyone read mine? It feels like the only ones reading it, and giving me feedback, are the artists and labels themselves and I see less and less meaning in doing it for their pleasure only. So this last year I felt more and more bored with the whole thing to be honest, and it has shown as I've made quite few posts. So after some thought, I've decided to stop writing reviews because it's no longer rewarding in anyway for me.
This however doesn't mean that there won't be anymore posts in the future. I will still do the occasional interview since that is still something that I enjoy doing. My main focus however will be to do other things with beats, breaks & big smiles. Move it away from the writing a bit. I don't want to say too much about what I have in the works for the future since nothing is set in stone. But I can say this, records in physical forms will be released. No, the blog won't turn in to a label, it will only move in a different direction. So do stick around, the end is not here yet.

Friday, December 20, 2013

#1 soso - Not for Nothing

What is there really to say about this record? It's made by soso, one of my absolute favourite artists. A guy who has never released a bad record, or even song, as far as I'm concerned. As soon as I heard Not for Nothing back in June, I kind of new already that this would be my favourite album of 2013. And it is, no other record has even come close to be honest. Heartbreakingly beautiful. Thank you Troy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

#2 Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels

This was an album I was almost sure that it would end up being one of this year's best even before it came out. I mean, last year both EL-P and Killer Mike released amazing solo albums, so to combine those forces had to result in something special. And that's just what Run the Jewels is. A superb album featuring one of my absolute all-time favourite producers and emcees, EL-P,  and Killer Mike, that wicked entertainer and emcee. As good as gold.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#3 Honningbarna - Verden er enkel

Norwegian punk rock sung in its native language. Not something I usually write about on this blog, but good music is good music no matter of genre or language. And Verden er enkel is quite simply a great record. Straight to the point, political, funny and with a constant middle finger in the air. This is a record that we need in today's social climate. Honningbarna definitely created one of the true soundtracks of the year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#4 Swordplay & Pierre the Motionless - Tap Water

Such a treat this album is. Both musically, lyrically and visually. I hadn't listened that much to either Swordplay or Pierre the Motionless before I heard this album, but there was something about it that made me want to check it out more closely. That was one of the good decisions that you make in life. It's an album that has everything. Great melodies, nice beats, wonderful lyrics and vocals as well as a perfect package just by looking at it. Will definitely not sleep on these guys ever again!

Monday, December 16, 2013

#5 Burial - Rival Dealer

I know. There are two reasons that I perhaps shouldn't put this record on my best albums of the year list. First of all, it got released just 5 days ago. And second of all, it's just a 3 track EP. My answer to that is: So what?! Great music is great music no matter when it was released, and Rival Dealer is fucking amazing! And yeah, it might not be a full length album per se, but there are punk rock albums out there shorter than this when it comes to minutes. So just deal with it, Burial has once again released a brilliant piece of music and I will listen to this for a long time to come, and love doing so.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#6 nosunnofood - nosunnofood

This album really passed by unnoticed by most people this year, which I can't understand. Perhaps it would have gotten more attention if the artist behind nosunnofood had decided to release it under his more famous name, edison. But still. Great music is great music no matter what name it is made under, and this album is one of the most beautiful albums I've heard in a long time. It has it all; melodies, atmospheres, vibes, rhythms, the whole shebang. More than worthy of being on at least one top ten list this year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

#7 Hermitofthewoods - Land of the Lotus Eaters

Land of the Lotus Eaters is the brainchild of Hermitofthewoods and Scott Da Ros. Its mix between hip hop, poetry and straight up skills is still a real treat to listen to, and I keep discovering new layers each time I listen to it. If you still haven't taken the time to listen to it, you should be ashamed. This is what good music should sound like.

Friday, December 13, 2013

#8 Boogie Boy Metal Mouth - Boogie Boy Metal Mouth

Damn how I fell in love with this tape when it dropped at the beginning of the year! It sounded like nothing that I'd heard before. A perfect mix of punk, hip hop and rock'n'roll. And almost 12 months later, it still sounds as good! Emoh Betta and J.Ring really served up one of this year's finest soundtracks with this tape on I had An Accident Records.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

#9 King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath the Moon

I was quite unsure if the hype surrounding this 19 year old Brit really would pay off once his debut album came out. Sure, he had released some really good tracks leading up to it, but like I said, I was sceptical. 6 Feet Beneath the Moon proved me wrong however. Very wrong. It's a really good album that you want to come back to time and again. Just imagine what King Krule will be able to produce in the years to come.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

#10 Sadistik - Flowers for My Father

I must say that I'm a bit surprised how much I still like this album. When it came out early this year, I really dug it a lot and listened to it intensely for quite a while. I was however quite sure that I would grow tired of it, that the sounds of it would stop sounding as good after a few months. But it didn't. It's still an album I return to over and over again, and Sadistik's lyrics keep showing new life each time. Flowers for My Father is definitely worth it's place in this year's top ten. Best album to come out on Fake Four Inc. 2013.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Interview #30 - Tommy V

Low Key L.A. Legend

One of the most humble cats out there on this crazy scene called indie hip hop must be Tommy V. He's been part of some classic records and set ups, but he's always been in the background letting other people shine. He, if any, is the personification of why I started doing these interviews. To let the true heroes get heard. So without further ado, here's Tommy!
Even though you’re a cat who’s been around the block a few times, would you like to give us a short introduction to the man and the myth that we like to call Tommy V?
Thanks for the obligatory flattery (blushes).. Ok so I'm Thomas Valencia, I was born in 1975 in Los Angeles, California to a Mexican father and North American mother. The rest is pretty boring...
What made you start making music to begin with?
My mother's side of the family was pretty musical. My grandfather was a singer, with a deep and gravelly baritone voice. I recall taking rides with him as kids as he would sing along with his favorite songs. My grandmother was the foot tapper, heel slapper, finger-snapper type of gal who liked to point out instruments and melodies within the songs that she liked. At our house we had an old Hammond organ in the house that my mother would always sing along with. I remember in 5th grade music class when my friend Chris & I rapped in front of the whole elementary school while reading our lyrics off of a paper. I had some turntables in high-school and we'd freestyle and scratch over records. Then i got a 4-track and a sampler. After that I got an 8-track, then a 16 track, then Pro Tools. Some 30 years later Chris would help to press the Mockingbird 7" vinyl as part owner of Seaport Records.
What do you consider yourself mostly? Musician, emcee or producer?
I think all 3 have their moments, along with epic failures! The musician in me wants to understand the music more... I think that applying some theory with instinct makes for good results. The emcee in me is pretty withdrawn I think.. I feel like I bite everyone when I rap, so I feel more comfortable with melodies and harmonies, but my roots are pretty rappy :/ As far as producing, I enjoy fusing life instruments with samples, or vice versa.
Even though you never completely left, Mockingbird was your first solo release for quite a few years; I suppose the last one up until then was the final Toca album back in like 2007. What made you decide that 2012 was the year for you to release some new music?
Yeah I wish I was more consistent, where does the time go?? It was nice to release Mockingbird with Fake Four & Seaport Records towards the end of 2012. I mostly didn't want another year to slip by without releasing anything, so I squeezed it in before the year ended. I wasn't trying to align with the Mayans or anything.. Here I am now at the end of 2013 and I haven't even finished the rest of Mockingbird, ugh!?
I know there were plans of making the album a physical version too. Is that something that is still in the works?
Yeah, after that digital release of Mockingbird I got evicted from my spot, and since then I've been in transition. I can never really record unless I have a quiet place to set up my equipment, and I hate doing a bunch of takes where the whole neighborhood hears me or I'm annoying roommates. I've finally arrived in Connecticut and have all of my studio equipment set up, so I'm back in action. There is hope..... I think???
I had filled out this section, then I erased it... I listen to everything I can though...
One of the many things that I like about your music is that you don’t seem to be afraid to make fun of yourself without coming off as corny. Is that a conscious decision or just what happens when you put your pen to the pad?
Uh oh, now we have to psychoanalyze my motives, eek... A basic text book response would point out insecurities that I'm attempting to mask, kinda like a class clown maybe? I just don't wanna take myself so serious, keep it fun! Rappers are too annoying...
What do you want to accomplish with your music?
I want to connect with people and grow within my own understanding of music. I've made lots of good friends through music and just want to contribute what I can to the musical landscape.
What are you up to when you’re not making music and being one of the friendliest dudes out there in the digital world called the Internet?
I enjoy adventure and am always down to travel and commune with nature. You'll find me cliff-diving at Hermit Falls, hiking in Joshua Tree, chillin' in a Sequoia Tree, floating the Kern River, hangin' at Venice Beach, swimming in Flathead Lake, riding horseback in México, soaking in Hot Springs. Nothing like some adventure!
I've always collected rocks, I just got a bunch of new rocks at Kehoe's Agate Shop while I was in Montana visiting. I don't make energy grids with them and swing pendulums or anything but have always enjoyed collecting them.
Also skateboarding has always been a part of my life, I've broken a few bones and just last year took a bad spillI and woke up on the street with a car coming right at me, yikes!?
I like to study languages, and am currently working on my Spanish Degree, I'm about half-way there.. I would love to minor in music but can't pass Harmony 1, ugh!?
Any upcoming projects that you would like to let us in on?
Well I'm working on a 7" with you, David and I are writing to some of the instrumentals now. Plus I'm always working on music, and have all kinds of unfinished material that needs to resolve... Shouts to TorpedoHead! ;)
To finish it all, first off I like to thank you for taking the time to do this. Any final words?
Thanks for the interview and we'll be working on those instrumentals that you sent :)
Maybe one day we can meet up and have a beer? Take care yo!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Interview #29 - Tenshun

The Untitled Tracklord 

For fans of dirty distorted beats and noise, there are few people out there at the moment making it better than Tenshun. Both as a solo artist and together with his different crews, he's been making sure that there's always interesting and dark music to be heard. So I decided to look him up and ask him some questions. 

First off, would you mind sharing with us a bit about yourself? Who’s Jon and who’s Tenshun?
I'm Jon Calzo from San Diego, California. I make music under the name Tenshun and am part of Creatures, Kilowattz, Skrapez and Dtm.
What made you realize that you wanted to create music, and how old where you at the time? Was there a lot of music around you in your family growing up?
I have always been interested in sound ever since I was small and was really curious to how it was created. My older brother was into hip hop and he introduced me to mixtapes and records.
I remember hearing mixtapes and the DJ would be going off on the scratches and I would be thinking "how the hell did they make that sound?"
Or hearing beats and thinking to myself, "Did they hire a whole orchestra to create those sounds?"
And then later on as I found out about samplers and equipment and how people were actually taking sounds from records and other things and re-flipping them to create something totally different. From there I was hooked! Mike Russel from MRR ADM hooked me up with a Tascam 4 track and I was making beat tapes and looping records with a old Gemini mixer which had a 12 second sampler on it and a beat up turntable.
How would you describe your music and could you briefly tell us about the music-making process?
I would say my style of music is a mix of Turntablism / Noise/ distorted drums, feedback and improvisation.
The core part of my music is usually the drums Or a loop that has some type of pulse to it.
From there I find sounds which fit the mood of the rhythm.
Only a few people seem to be as productive as you when it comes to releasing records. Do you feel a need to have your music as physical objects or how come you like to release records so often?
I feel like music is one of the only things out there keeping me sane in this crazy world. Without it I would probably be getting into trouble.
For me making a album is like creating a limited edition art print which starts from creating the sound to making the album artwork. Each album that gets made is totally different then the next album. For some people the whole process of duplicating the music, drawing the artwork and printing them may seem like a lot of work but I like doing all of it.
I love getting albums that have been hand crafted. It shows that the artist put a lot of time & effort to really create something to present to the world to have.
People might have heard the name Skrapez. but might not necessarily know what lies behind it. Could you perhaps enlighten us all? And please tell us what influences/inspirations you have?
Skrapez is Psychopop and I. We have known each other for quite sometime now. We have always been into the same style of music. I remember back in the days we would always smoke a blunt before we go digging for records. We have always been into hard hitting drums, psychedelic music and jazz and art. So when we got together and jammed out it just clicked and Skrapez was formed. Our first Skrapez show was with Sumach back in the day. We just bum rushed the stage and started killing it on some Sun-Ra steez.
I usually get my inspirations from daily living and whats around me. I try to capture all the good and bad things going on in this world and transfer it into my music.
Or I listen to some of the homies stuff to see what they been working on and get ideas & inspiration.
What do you wish to accomplish with your music?
I just want to inspire people out there to make music and art & to do something positive.
Instead of focusing those negative thoughts on trying to kill someone, you could focus those thoughts and energy into some evil, dark sounding music or art.
What are you up to when you’re not making music? Any other passions besides music?
When I'm not working on music I'm usually out riding my bike trying to do tricks or working my job at the library.
I'm a fan of making guitar pedals, circuit bending and drawing and film.
Any upcoming projects that you like to share with us?
As for projects coming out, I've got a few projects in the works with Son of a Bricklayer, Stuntdouble, Psychopop, Mike Tappen and Deathpera.
Shout outs?
Creatures crew, Skrapez, Kilowattz, drums turntables mpc, San Diego and all the people out there that listen and who I have met.

pavleisdead - Predestination for the Labyrinth

I love coming across artists I never heard about and know nothing about, and then really like their music. That's the case with pavleisdead. The only thing I know of the man behind this album that he's a 19 year old guy from Croatia. 
When I first listened to Predestination for the Labyrinth I wasn't really feeling it at all and was more than willing to dismiss it. But one morning I let it stay in my headphones on my way to work, and then it slowly opened up to me. It's like the soundtrack to a non-existing movie with a lot of layers and unexpected turns. Well, now I lied a bit. There actually is a bit of film to watch while listening to this, but I was just making a point. It's dirty and distorted at the same time as it's frail and beautiful. And what really speaks to me is how it all sticks together so well, it's a really well formulated album. Probably not a record for most people, but I'm at least happy to have made this acquaintance.

Rating: 7/10