Soundcheck CD Picks of the Week

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This week’s picks bring us some Celtic music by way of Cape Bretton, a mix of raunchy rock and dub and a musical bridge to Brooklyn.


Brooklyn Rider is a string quartet that is a kind of a spinoff from Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. Their globetrotting new album includes works written for them by composers from Japan, Uzbekistan, and yes, Brooklyn. Despite the new, cosmopolitan works, it was 20th century French composer Claude Debussy and his love of the East that inspired much of the music on Brooklyn Rider’s new album, Dominant Curve. -- John Schaefer (Buy it on


Malachai - Ugly Side of Love (Domino)

Malachai’s debut, The Ugly Side of Love, makes a strong impression. First, there’s the album cover itself, which is graced by what appears to be a ventriloquist dummy. And the opening track cribs from the classic 1979 New York gang film The Warriors. This album continues to surprise taking the raunchy rock sound of Brit-rock groups putting them in a blender with dub and a grab-bag of strange samples. Malachai is the duo of Gee Ealey and Scott Hendy, two musicians based in Bristol, England. Geoff Barrow of Portishead helped produce the album. -- Joel Meyer (Buy it on


The Cottars - Feast (Rounder Records) From the windy island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia comes the Cottars, a young quartet whose music bridges traditional Celtic with Americana. The Cottars put their stamp on both original and traditional material on Feast. “Fare Thee Well Northumberland,” is a cover of the Dire Straits song, and “The 23rd of June” is an old Irish tune about the weaver’s holiday. -- Brian Wise (Buy it on