This week, our podcast features Railcars, the recording project of San Francisco's Aria C Jalali. Jalali began recording solo under his own name while at UC Berkeley, gathering a band under the Railcars moniker when he was invited to open for the Handsome Furs in early 2008. He returned to working solo, recording Railcars' first 7", Cities vs. Submarines, released almost a year ago on Gold Robot Records. Recorded by Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) in his kitchen, the five-song set featured lyrics drawn from Jalali's vivid recurring dreams, and sounds generated from a cornucopia of drum machines, synths and effects. For all of the sonic abrasion, there are strong melodies at work too, and the combination is simultaneously otherworldly and concrete, much like the flying submarines that haunted the musician's dreams.
The next few months mark big changes for Jalali and Railcars. For one, there's the impending release of Cathedral With No Eyes, a 12" concept album based around the life of St. Edmund that comes out September 29, 2009 on Stumparumper Records. Beyond that, Railcars also has a number of other releases planned, 7"s and cassettes, and a lengthy list of tour dates nationwide. From our perspective, though, the elephant in the podcast is that soon after this episode comes out, Jalali's moving Railcars back down to Southern California, where he's found inspiration in the DIY community of The Smell. While we're sad to see him go, we're confident we'll be hearing a lot more from Railcars in the future.
We sat down with Jalali in late June to discuss his touring experiences, the forthcoming album and more. We've also included four songs in the episode from both of his vinyl releases.