It's rare that an album comes completely out of nowhere to impress me this much, but it happened twice this year, Panda Bear being one, this being the other. I first came across this before he opened for BRMC a few months ago, and I wanted to know whether I should get there in time for the opening act. It sounded good, I went, and was blown away. I immediately (legally) downloaded the album and couldn't stop listening to it for the next two weeks.
Virtually all self-recorded, he walks the line between traditional (Ballad of Elton John) and experimental (You); Bluegrass (Little King Kong), and metal (Mommy and Daddy); Folk (Old Domestic Cat), and Indie (Serotonin). Yet somehow, this has generated almost no buzz whatsoever. Not a single mention on Pitchfork. The new album doesn't even have an Amazon review. It's like I'm in some alternate universe where I'm the only person that's heard of this guy.
Start to finish, this album is a masterpiece. Some tracks stand out more than others, but they're nicely placed so that the album doesn't really reach a crescendo until the penultimate track, Mommy and Daddy, where Ciarn McFeely shows off his metal chops, no small feat for a one man act. Within the first week of owning this, I knew it was the best album of the year. It's simply fantastic.
Here's Serotonin, Ballad of Elton John, and Self Help Book.