Music Video

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BrassMunk "El Dorado"

Unbelievable. This rap group not only chose to skip the typical champagne-drenched, oversized-butt fest in the mansion, they've instead opted for Saturday morning-style animation. Maybe it's because they're Canadian. At any rate, this retro clip is practically an homage to Hanna-Barbera in all its guileless cartooniness, right down to the hokey train robbery narrative. According to Plates Animation producer Michael Macmillan, "the focus is on mixed mediums - painted textures, stylized 2-D/cel, 3-D and effects software are all incorporated. 'Hanna-Barberic' would indeed be an accurate description of the result." The track is pretty good, too. BrassMunk, we salute you! Uh, sorry. Mad props, dawgs.

Director/Editor/Animation: Plates Animation, Toronto

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks "Dark Wave"

Here's a completely brilliant idea: a video composed almost entirely of closeups of quirkily animated tattoos on a grizzled man's body. A hot babe's body would have been better, in our opinion, but an old salt was required. As director Scott Lyon explains, "It struck me that there was a sea chantey feel to the track; I'm not a fan of fashion-type tattoos, but sailors' tats have stories to them. I like the idea that old sailors' bodies are a biography of their lives. The old man is one of Captain Malkmus' shipmates, and his body documents their voyages. We used old tattoos as a reference but we mixed it up with some twisted designs to bring a bit of humor in. Tattoos don't move, so since it's never going to look real, it should look funny." The seemingly Lene Lovich-inspired track is just as good, and as offbeat, as the clip.

Director: Scott Lyon, Oil Factory Editors: Scott Lyon, Dan Sollis

Illustrator: Will Sweeney Animator: Dan Sollis

Dave Matthews "Sing Along"

The song sounds like a throwaway, something Dave might've written in his sleep; he appears to be semi-conscious for the video, too, but this is not a problem, since the Blue Man Group is on hand to play unusual percussion instruments (meshed beautifully with the track), do a little weird dancing and just be, like, startlingly blue. Which makes for a nice contrast with all this orange liquid spewing from stacks in the gray virtual-rooftop set. Then there are these wonderful iconic stick figures, including a peeing dog, that are around for some reason or other, but the important thing is they look great. The fine effects work, from Zoic Studios, calls attention to itself yet at the same time has a spare, clean, almost minimalist aesthetic.

Director: David Kellogg, Anonymous Content

Editor: Hal Honisberg, Chrome Effects: Zoic Studios

The Datsuns "Harmonic Generator"

The Datsuns: Are they the new Strokes, the new Vines, the new Hives or something else entirely? Who knows? The only thing we know for sure is when they really hit it big they'll change their name to the Nissans. We also know that this utterly lo-fi clip rocks just as hard as the garage-grungy song. "I really just wanted to make something that looked like the chords sounded," says director Grant Gee, who explains the clip was shot on DigiBeta, dubbed to DV, and messed with on the Mac in AfterEffects, with the picture pulsing in sync to the particular instrument seen in each shot via Motion Math. "The thing's 'lo-fi' in as much as it was shot on tape, but I think the grunginess of the image really comes from just pushing the contrast so far and it just getting really noisy," says Gee, who's a whiz at this sort of thing.

Director/Editor/Effects: Grant Gee, Oil Factory

Christina Aguilera "Fighter"

How bizarre: drippy little Christina Aguilera gets the Floria Sigismondi goth-artiste treatment. The video is fabulous, despite the presence of the completely boring Aguilera, and even though it makes for a total disconnect with the song, a typical piece of overwrought Top 40 fluff, which appears to be about the power of tenacity and self-esteem, not that we care. But no matter; when Sigismondi turns on the high concept - and when doesn't she? - she rules. There's a sequence of stylized eyelash closeups here that recalls a live-action riff on the animated Aeon Flux open, while the clip as a whole could be a fever dream from Silence of the Lambs. But too bad this isn't a Marilyn Manson vid. He'd look good in these outfits.

Director: Floria Sigismondi, Revolver Film Co. Editor: Gary Knight, James Rosen, Final Cut, London Effects: VTR, London

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