With Sunbather, San Francisco's Deafheaven created either the most tender black metal record of 2013 or the year's most blistering indie-rock record — and if My Bloody Valentine hadn't emerged from obscurity, maybe the best shoegaze record, too, thanks to its twee song titles and European-style rock jams. In a few minutes less time than it takes to watch an episode of Breaking Bad, the group summons all the pathos, anger, and theatricality of a Greek tragedy, but with the sort of base instincts that could appeal to a fan of, say, Mayhem. It's the ultimate outsider record for indie insiders; instead of offering something for everyone, they've offered something for everyone else. As one example, opener "Dream House" pulses with mid-tempo blackened blastbeats and vocalist George Clarke's fractured growls, then everything but the vocals becomes post-rock — and the next track is a gentle piano instrumental. They even approximate Kevin Shields' sea-sickening guitar flutter on "The Pecan Tree" without sacrificing a bit of bloodlust. It's exactly what an extreme-metal album with a pink cover should sound like. K.G.