Hey everyone, my name is Louie. Since IGIF rarely covers hip-hop, I’ll be giving you a deeper look into the music through all the stuff I have listened to over the years. My tastes are pretty broad so look forward to a little of everything, from Biggie to Blackalicious

Thanks to E-40 and a few others, the Bay Area is starting to get its long overdue respect as a thriving hip-hop community. Even though the Hyphy movement has popularized mainstream music in the Bay, there are plenty of underground artists that have held their own as well. Zion I (emcee Zion and DJ Amp Live) is a hip-hop duo out of Oakland (my hometown) that is definitely on the rise. The variety in their music heightens that West Coast sound, and Zion proves his abilities with some very bright and real lines. Check out these songs off of their newest album, True & Livin’:

[MP3] Zion IDoin’ My Thang
This one has a nice, mellow beat that sets the vibe for the rest of the album. Zion’s flow reminds me of Mos Def because he rhymes in complete control over the beat. Don’t resist the urge to dance to this one.

[MP3] Zion IThe Bay
I had to include this one, mostly because it gives props to my home and tends to be a favorite among my friends. If you want to see a music video of the song, check out Zion I’s MySpace page

[MP3] Zion IPoems 4 Post Modern Decay
Probably my favorite on the album, this song has everything: an addicting beat, an amazing verse by one of the most notable underground rappers, Aesop Rock, and a powerful poem at the finish. If you like songs that get political, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

Head over to Zion I’s MySpace for more MP3s!
You can buy True & Livin’ and other Zion I merch here.

Editor’s Note: Props to Louie for making this site a little more hip-hop friendly. You should all thank him for saving you all from my “white boy” prose which ultimately would have destroyed any rap credibility we may have had. The plan, which in my experience never ends up as intended, is to have Louie post once a week. Feel that tickle? That’s called exuberance, my friends. Just remember to pick up when it calls.

Yes, more historical anniversaries. I really do like inserting some crazy ass trivia in various musical posts. I have a lot bands that I want to post on, don’t get me wrong, but I am short on time as of late. Something about starting a new job? Who knows.

Not only did I start a job today, but South Carolina became a state. Yep! 218 years ago the Atlantic coast said “Hello” to a small state that boasted a diverse culture. Founded by the French, Scottish, and the Irish – South Carolina had somewhat of a cultural identity crisis. Despite its multi-national roots, S.C. was one of the original 13 Colonies that revolted against England. Speaking of revolting, they were also the first state to secede from the Union in 1860 and were the state credited in firing the “first shot of the Civil War.” Who knew that a state responsible for a Midwest vacation hotspot could be such a badass?

Those crazy South Carolinians. They deserve a couple of songs.

[MP3] Ben GibbardCarolina
[MP3] Her Space HolidayFrom South Carolina

We can also shed a tear, today, for Bonnie & Clyde. They’re bank heists finally came to an end as they were ambushed by police and killed. I should probably say slaughtered.. The police posse shot a combined total of approximately 130 rounds. They didn’t call out a warning, or order the duo to surrender. Clyde was killed instantly from an initial head shot but Bonnie didn’t die as easily as Clyde. The posse reported her uttering a long, horrified and pain-filled scream as the bullets tore into the car and she was hit over and over again. Now, I’m not saying they should’ve been let go but that paints a disturbing image in my head.

I’d like to see who calls “shotgun” now.

[MP3] The StillsLove & Death
[MP3] Nancy SinatraBang Bang
[MP3] Jay-Z / Beyonce’03 Bonnie and Clyde
[MP3] Theory of A DeadmanMe and My Girl
[MP3] Red Hot Chili PeppersIf You Have To Ask
[MP3] The Spill CanvasBlack Dresses
[MP3] Georgie FameThe Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde
[MP3] Elton JohnThe Emperor’s New Clothes
[MP3] Say AnythingWe Will Erase All Life On Earth But Us
[MP3] The BeatlesTwo of Us
[MP3] Garbage#1 Crush
[MP3] The RamonesLove Kills

Bonnie & Clyde were pretty cool, in my mind. I could go on forever with good songs about their ordeal, but like they’re robberies and murders – it’s gotta stop at some point.

As any propagandist will tell you (stop laughing, I’m serious), repetition sells. Why do you think Chris is so damn popular? <-- this guy's got clout, let me tell you, and he's got about a billion posts on Sufjan Stevens to thank for it. It’s why awful songs get played on the radio over and over and over again. It’s why “all press is good press.” It’s why I can now look at Cate Blanchett without making this face. So without further ado, here’s a recap of what I’ve been obsessing over/posted on over the last month or two. Shameless, maybe, but oh so sweet.

[MP3] +/- [plus/minus]Steal The Blueprints
Here’s a band that really came out of nowhere for me, particularly because a) they’re so damn good and b) I hadn’t heard them before. This song will undoubtedly end up on my year’s best list.

[MP3] We Will BuildWhite Furniture
These guys won an IGIF contest a little while back, and to top that, they are virtually unheard of! Here’s my favorite song of theirs, an upbeat DNTEL-esq electronica masterpiece, also on my year’s best list.

[MP3] Sunset RubdownThey Took A Vote And Said No
Wolf Parade frontman Spencer Krug’s side project #1 is really picking up steam in the indie world, especially after winning Pitchfork’s BNM honors…and also for being ridiculously, ridiculously good sounding.

[MP3] Sufjan StevensNo Man’s Land
Who else but Sufjan Stevens. I’m not normally a huge fan of patriotic ballads, but I’ll let this one slide…and I pray, and expect, that there’s a steaming pile of metaphor somewhere in this epic. Song of the Year contender.

[MP3] PhoenixLong Distance Call
After the “Lost In Translation” buzz had died, we didn’t hear a lot from “that French band.” Now they’ve got a new album on the way, and if this song is any indication, it’s gonna be good.

[MP3] National EyeThe Switch
For fans of Sunset Rubdown, anything out of Montreal, and bouncy indie pop. Here’s a terribly underrated band that’s been pretty neglected in the indie world. It’s a shame too, because they’ve got a great album on their hands, and a whole lot of potential.

[MP3] Mystery JetsThe Boy Who Ran Away
Disappointed by The Futurehead’s newly discovered sound? Look no further than Mystery Jets, flying from across the pond in a big, awesome British flurry. Random acapella included.

[MP3] Little OnesLovers Who Uncover
This song’s got it all: hand clapping, Shins fans-friendly vocals, a catchy chorus, and plenty of buzzzzzz. It’s one of my favorites of the year, hands down, and I’m more than excited to see what else Little Ones have to offer.

[MP3] IrvingThe Gentle Preservation Of Children’s Minds
A song that blurs the line between “indie” and mainstream, because it could easily go either way. Anyone else notice how similar this song is to DCFC’s Different Names For The Same Thing?

[MP3] Cold War KidsWe Used To Vacation
A great song told in story-mode about a guy on the edge of a breakdown. Cold War Kids came out of nowhere with two excellent EPs under their belt, and a whole lot of wiggle room.

[MP3] Cadence WeaponBlack Hand
After seeing a great performace as he opened up for Islands and Why?, I bought Breaking Kayfabe and haven’t been able to put it down. This is my favorite song of his, and maybe my favorite rap song this year so far.

[MP3] The Argyle WishlistWe’ll Change Our Minds Eventually
Speaking of Islands, here’s a band that almost mimics Nick Diamonds’ vocals squeak for squeak. A great album from an almost unheard of band. Can’t wait to hear what they sound like with a bigger budget.

There…now doesn’t that make this look like the best blog ever!?! All that great music and all…(shameless). Anyway, I’ve got to go watch the United States put Morocco through torture and embarrassment. More to come later.

Posted By Connor at

FILED: Mixes

As promised, here’s another freakin’ contest! with yet another sweet prize! Up for grabs this time is an advanced copy of The Submarines‘ brand friggin’ new record, Declare A New State. It’s a really fun, poppy, “cute” album, for all you indie-pop freaks.

If you have yet to endulge in their music, Nathaniel posted a little quip about them a little while back. Check out these MP3s while I think of the contest rules:

[MP3] The SubmarinesPeace & Hate
[MP3] The SubmarinesVote
[MP3] The SubmarinesClouds

Ok, I thought of a contest. To enter, all you have to do is give me a link to a song, preferably one I haven’t heard before (obviously), and the one I like best wins. For those of you who don’t have a server to host files, I’d suggest looking both here and here for the song in question, and just posting the link if you find one. Easy enough, eh? Good luck amigos.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a contest, so I’ve decided to run TWO of them! The first of which is for a freakin’ awesome signed copy of La Rocca’s Sing Song Sung EP, which kicks some super serial rock ass. To enter, make up a word and write it in the comments. The funniest word wins. Sorry, I know that isn’t very fun, but it’s quick and easy, dammit, so stop complaining, enter your damn word, and maybe you’ll win the prize. ;-)

If you don’t know anything about La Rocca, you can read a nice review of their EP here. Check out these tracks while you’re at it:

[MP3] La RoccaSing Song Sung (highly rec’d)
[MP3] La RoccaCambodia

Bonus Video:

[MOV] La RoccaSing Song Sung (for all you Tisch hipsters)

UPDATE: Please remember to leave contact info, like an email address, with your word entry! Good luck!