Spoon, “Don’t You Evah”
Before 2007, the dancing, snowman-shaped robot known as Keepon was just another one of YouTube’s best-kept secrets. “Don’t You Evah” gives the little guy his four minutes and five seconds of fame, following him through all-robot dance parties and encounters with Japanese people. If you’re still searching for all the entertainment value that didn’t come with your last Spoon album, look no further.
Modest Mouse, “Dashboard”
Videos that tell stories are second only to songs that do the same. “Dashboard” follows a few salty old sea captains trying to outdo each other with tales of their glory days. Along the way you’ll meet big fish, sea monsters, and the most memorable peg-leg substitutes this side of Grindhouse. If “Dashboard” were the alternate video idea for “The Ocean Breathes Salty,” it shouldn’t have been.
St. Vincent, “Jesus Saves, I Spend”
A whimsical song deserves a whimsical video; “Jesus Saves, I Spend” gets that much right. Annie Clark plays den mother to the Cub Scout troop of dreams, where bugling and basket-weaving take a backseat to the fine arts of telekinetic snack preparation and sleeping bag escape.
Generally, performance videos are the poor man’s sleeping pills, but this year Battles managed put out two that were both worth a second glance. While “Atlas” has the band floating through space in a sweet mirror-sided box, “Tonto” artfully reveals its Welsh mountain setting without the aid of a green screen. The band plays in time with (and inside) a light show you don’t need to be stoned to appreciate.
Menomena, “Rotten Hell”
Kids die in a food fight. Love it or hate it.
Honorable mention: Fujiya and Miyagi, “Ankle Injuries”
With dice as its medium, “Ankle Injuries” treads the footprints of White Stripes’ 2002 Lego opus “Fell in Love with a Girl.” If not for its predecessor, this would have made the list.