WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

Lars Gotrich

Paramore's After Laughter captures the moment between rapture and its comedown, the glitter wiped away, left with skin rubbed raw. It's a record, more than a decade into the band's career, that not only exposes the sparkling pop that's always lit Paramore's songs, but also deals with the ache of growing up and growing apart.

Welcome to fall, where everything is pumpkin spice, scarves are a necessary fashion accessory and, oh, all of your favorite artists who didn't release albums in the spring suddenly make a mad dash for your ears.

We're here to help — not with the pumpkin spice, that's definitely on your own terms — but with the brand-new albums that we, the NPR Music staff, are listening to this weekend.

John Darnielle tells stories that make you care so deeply about the people in them that when Darnielle begins to scrape away the layers of grit and glory, you sink deeply, helplessly into their psyche and hope things turn out fine, knowing they probably won't. You find them in his songs as The Mountain Goats, and his novels Wolf In White Van and Universal Harvester. It's not hard to be a John Darnielle fan — and once you're in, you never leave.

The power in Wild Beasts' music has always been the drama, a dynamic seduced by complicated notions of sex and masculinity. Over 13 years and five albums, the English band has morphed from broody art-punk to, well, broody synth-pop, all the while finding beauty in dimly lit corners.

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