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Houston, Texas, United States | SELF

Houston, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




"...The first time I listened to Blackout Falls, I had to go back and listen again immediately after, just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, but yep, there it is. I know it’s early yet, but hell, I’m going to call it anyway: welcome to one of the best things you’re likely to hear all year." - Space City Rock

"Kublai Khan EP Review"

Some days, it can be damn difficult to pin down a band that doesn't fit in any kind of neat scenesterized box. What are you, if you're not nu-New Wave, screamo, post-punk, metalcore, or space-rock? Just guitars and drums and a voice -- what the hell's that, these days?
That's where I am with Alkari. On their Kublai Khan EP, they present the picture of a rock band that's just that, with no prefixes or suffixes; just "rock." There are elements of plenty of different sub-genres scattered throughout, certainly -- like the math-y bits in "GG249," or the retro-sounding middle bit in the title track -- but those elements never define the band itself.
So what I'm left with, instead, is five songs to try to use to puzzle the band out. And as puzzles go, Kublai Khan is one I don't mind listening to repeatedly to try to piece together. Alkari start off with "GG249," where their warmly fuzzed-out guitars make me think of Superdrag, and I'm impressed that they manage to mesh piano in with the guitars without coming off like some sort of cheesy lounge-rock band; it's a difficult trap to avoid.
"The Code" ups the ante by a heck of a lot -- it's yearning and anthemic, grand in that way that Arcade Fire songs are, where you know the band's singing about something bigger and more meaningful than tiny, insignificant little you, even if you can't pin down just what it is. If I had to namecheck somebody, I'd say Doves; Alkari have the same kind of arena-rock-but-not-detached feel to their music, at least on this song, and the same sense of urgency besides.
"If I Could," though, the EP's midpoint, is probably the true centerpiece. While I find myself liking "The Code" more, it feels like a fluke compared to "If I Could" -- this is what this band really, truly sounds like. The guitars are fucking awesome, in particular, thick and substantial and almost bluesy at times. Plus, there's a warm, friendly, unpretentious sound to the whole thing, like it tumbled out of some long-forgotten Twin/Tone vault somewhere. And hey, that could work, come to think of it; slap some Replacements on after these middle two tracks, and you might be fooled into thinking it was '80s Minneapolis all over again.
Sadly, the EP staggers downhill after that. "Kublai Khan" starts promisingly, with a nice riff that repeats later, but then speeds up into relatively standard bar-band rock and never really comes back. It sounds retro at points, although not in a particularly good way, like the band's playing a song it only remembers halfway from the band members' collective youth. There are weird washes of synths at times, too, that don't really seem to fit and kind of disrupt the proceedings. Closer "Jayco Michobay" improves, but not by a whole lot -- the band ventures into electronica territory with murky atmospherics, burbling synths, and clicking drums, and while they're not bad when the song cranks into full-on rock mode later, they never really recover.
But hey, I can live with it -- it's an EP, and it's a start, and these guys have a hell of a lot of potential. For "The Code" and "If I Could" (and, to a lesser extent, "GG249"), I'll happily overlook the second half of the disc. Three out of five ain't bad, particularly when the good side's that good. (Jeremy Hart // 06/18/08)
(self-released; Alkari -- - Space City Rock

"Jason Smith Interview"

What is an Alkari?

The Alkari are a race of bird people. They posses leathery wings which enables them to fly for short distances. They are from a role playing game called MASTERS OF ORION. So yes, our name is from Science Fiction. One fan has figured that out so far and that made Mike’s day when he came up to us and asked us if our name came from a video game.

Alkari sounds like it could be the name of a planet in a please please please yes third Chronicles of Riddick movie. Which are the best three Vin Diesel films?

Saving Private Ryan, Fast and Furious, and Boiler Room

If Vin Diesel was in a Houston band, which one would he be in and why?

I think Dune.tx would be a good band for Vin because he seems like a no nonsense kind of guy and they are a no nonsense kind of band. They are also pretty fast and furious.

You’re a bass player – get wonky on your gear setup for a minute – what do you use?

Like most bass players, I love to talk about bass gear. I settled on a Fender Precision Deluxe because it has the widest variety of tone, from the Music Man growl to the smooth bass tones of an old Precision. I play through a Mesa Boogie 400+, which is 12 tubes of bliss. I also play a Microkorg and have just started playing midi bass pedals through virtual synths on my computer. So it’s almost a Geddy Lee setup. I also use a Muff Fuzz pedal.

Which is more soul crushing – listening to kids play metal at Guitar Center or listening to KPFT?

The sound of Boom Boom Cars booming their way through Westbury is the most soul crushing sound. There’s nothing you can do about it. You are helpless. And as a bass player it’s ten times worse because I tune right in on it and there’s no escape. I just want to take a sledgehammer to their windshields and introduce them to the much more pleasant sounds of KPFT. Jeffrey Thames of KPFT has been quite good to bands I’ve been in, so I can’t complain about KPFT, though wouldn’t it be great if they had 10 Jeff Thames?! You guys deserve a show on there, “Skyline radio” (like you’re not already busy enough?) or The Skyline Sessions, like they have with Sugar Hill…

What are some records you’ve been rocking on lately?

I’ve been listening to a lot of the new stuff by Rose Hill Drive, Dungen, Fleet Foxes, The Raconteurs, The Poison Arrows, Dredg and Whiskeytown’s Stranger’s Almanac. Shudder to Think is reuniting so I’ve been rocking out with PONY EXPRESS RECORD. I was obsessed with Joy Division and Black Sabbath all summer. After Rick Wright from Pink Floyd passed on I listened to Dark Side and The Wall and Wish You Were Here for a few days and I’m still not quite over it.

Who should we, the music interested hacks, be paying attention to around town?

PuraPharm (Tessa and Paul from 61 Cygni) have been criminally ignored by the music people in Houston for years. 61 Cygni is/was my favorite band from Houston of this decade but they broke up awhile back opting to start again with new songs. Pale deserves your attention. Maybe since they’ve been around awhile people take them for granted. The Riff Tiffs and Ton Tons are getting some well deserved praise. I wish we still had Penny Royal. They were going to be my favorite band and then poof it was over. Others worthy of your attention – Orents Stirner, The Gold Sounds, News on the March, Hearts of Animals, Heist at Hand, Wild Moccasins, Something Fierce, The Soarce, Earnie Banks, Bright Men of Learning, Dune.tx, Antarctica Starts Here. I’m sure I’m forgetting a fave or two.

I’m excited about the music press these days. We’ve had several really cool local festivals this year, the Hootennany/Twotennany, Houston Press Awards, Secret Show Fest, and now Free Press Houston Westheimer Block Party. Festivals are a great way to bring a lot of people together to hear music, and it looks like people are going to them. You guys have a lot of bands to write about, and there are several bloggers/music writers for us bands to try to get the attention of.

Alkari put out an EP recently, talk about that.

We recorded with our friends, Lynsey and Robin Moore (of the band Slivered). Alkari has been in the studio before, but in a previous form, and each of us has recorded plenty. We had a great time over there and would recommend them to anyone who needs a “good value” place as you get more than what you pay for with them. They recorded quickly and efficently and added in some nice production touches. We just did an EP because we were dying to get something OUT THERE quickly. Currently we are writing material for an album and considering studios. You can hear the new songs live and let us know what you think.

What have you done lately to keep San Antonio lame?

I’m not going to say anything bad about San Antonio! NEXT!

Which question should we have asked you and what is the answer?

Q: How does Alkari thrive as a band with a right wing conservative and a vegetarian in the same band?
A: We laugh at each other a lot! Then we shut up and rock!

YUSS SHUT UP AND ROCK! You have TWO CHANCES to catch Alkari and pick up a copy of their EP this weekend: Friday night at Rudyards with Hearts of Animals and Orents Stirner or at the Free Press’ Westheimer Block Party playing 4:30pm on the Avante Garden Upstairs Stage. - The Skyline Network

"Festival at Mink - Live Review"

Alkari -- This is one band I really liked. Their sound reminded me of something I really miss: '90s indie-rock, but a little bit punkier. Hmm... Emo! Real emo before Hot Topic ruined it. I got a definite I Hate Myself vibe, which is especially exciting for someone like me that was too young to see bands like that back in the day. Just to switch up and keep it original, they also include the occasional psych interlude and some pre-recorded samples between songs. -


Hymn 6 split ep
Kublai Khan ep



Mike Beatty (vocals, guitar, piano), Jason Smith (bass, synthesizer, vocals) and Marc Badillo (drums) share a common goal to write and perform hard-charging rock music that engages and energizes the listener.

Alkari has shared the stage with regionally known bands such as Electric Touch (Austin), The Bright Light Social Hour (Austin), as well as nationally known bands such as Royal Bangs (Nashville), Ume (Austin), and Internationally known bands such as Loney, Dear (Sweden), What Made Milwaukee Famous (Austin), and Midlake (Denton). They especially enjoy playing festival shows such as the Westheimer Block Party (2008 and 2009), and The Festival at Mink (2009 and 2010), and Spring Forward (2011). Recently Alkari released their debut album, BLACKOUT FALLS which was produced by Erik Wofford (producer for Explosions in the Sky, Black Angels, Maserati and many others) at Cacophony Recorders. The album was mastered by Jeff Lipton (credits include Superchunk, Bon Iver, and Spoon) at Peerless Mastering in Boston, MA. BLACKOUT FALLS has subsequently been nominated for a Houston Press Music Award for Best Album.