• Blues Traveler – "Bastardos!"

    John Popper cooks up a musical jambalaya that blends rock, blues, soul and even a dash of funk on the band’s ninth album. On “After What,” he translates his recent roller-coaster love life into a cathartic verse, singing Don’t blame heaven or hell / You’ll have to look to your self.

    But while the album has sizzling momentum on a syrupy “Amber Awaits,” it simmers down too soon. “Nail” and “Rubberneck” are among the best tracks revolving the heartache theme, yet they can’t compensate for messy and sometimes mushy lyrics thereafter. Popper creates a wholesome, 14-song set, but, unfortunately, his concoctions are an acquired taste.

    – MICHAEL KUHLMANN