Wednesday, September 3, 2008

cities vs. submarines

I'm aware that I haven't been posting much lately but you guys need to settle the fuck down. I've got a lot on my plate and I have to finish my veggies if I want to have dessert.

Speaking of which, I've got a pretty sweet ep for your delectation. It's by railcars, the brainchild of one Mr. Aria C. Jalali. It was recorded on Jamie Stewart's (Xiu Xiu) kitchen floor and Jamie Stewart plays mandolin and some percussion on "Saints are Waiting For Me (Outside My Door)" and "Through the Trees Lay Smokestacks". Railcars is a sort of flexible title for a project that at times is just one guy with a bunch of electronic toys but can expand to a four person line-up like they did back in April to play with Handsome Furs.

I know you're thinking, name-dropping is all good and well Megan, but what does it sound like? This is going to sound overly reductive, but Railcars hits a note (well, a bunch of notes actually) that falls in the halfway point between Handsome Furs and Xiu Xiu. He uses similar driving rhythms to Handsome Furs and both artists tend towards soaring melodies and yelping vocals. However, where Handsome Furs are clean and minimal Railcars is fuzzy and distorted, tending toward a fuller sound. Railcars' taste for complexity and the occasional dissonant surprise reflect the influence of Jamie Stewart. Aria's karaoke jam is "Dancing Queen" and my best guess is that the ABBA influence is something you just have to see. My favorite track is probably "Bohemia is Without a Sea" because it feels the most like a good, loud rock song. Over all it's a solid ep with a clear vision. The only thing that bums me out is that I can't really understand most of the lyrics and I'm a douchebag english major who thinks words are a little bit important.

The thing I understand the most is him wailing something about the radio in several songs. Lately I've been noticing that the radio has taken on a kind of mystical significance as a symbol for people of my generation, and by that I mean I hear a lot of songs that mention the radio. Which is interesting because of how much the radio sucks in all actuality. I don't know if it's because we've grown up hearing old pop songs romanticizing the radio and these new songs are emerging about a dream radio broadcasting things that touch us, that we will love or love already, things we actually want to hear. Dream radio brings us together. Sometimes I think maybe San Diego radio is just that much worse than anywhere else because of the insane clear channel monopoly, like we just got a raw deal and everyone else everywhere else is rocking out to real music while our five adult contemporary stations play Jack Johnson again. I don't know. I don't have all the answers. What I'm saying is, I really want a radio show. Make it happen, internet.

Oh, and Railcars, Cities vs. Submarines out September 12 on Gold Robot Records. Pre-order that vinyl here. I'd play it on my radio.


pony said...

Clear Channel has a monopoly everywhere. Helloooo, House Of Blues? The only good station in LA is indie 103.1 and even the shit they play is questionable at times. There are a lot of things that have a monopoly over radio here. Take the bullshit excuse for a local music show on 94.9 . Are there not more than four bands in San Diego? Why would you play several songs by the same band in a row and take away someone else's chance to be heard when you only have an hour a week to plug local music? I wish the Swami would whip them into shape.

With that said, I'll listen to this "railcars" nonsense next week. I'm listening to only Wu-Tang until Sunday.

'stina said...

goddammit that was me. I forgot to log into gmail as myself.

megan elizabeth said...

clear channel is extra bad in San Diego because they can also run stations in Mexico that broadcast here, occupying more of the airwaves without technically violating any laws. Last time I checked, we have the most clear channel stations in the country.

'stina said...

That's true. If we get so many cheap Mexican airwaves they should play better shit and not live in fear of their advertisers pulling out. Heh, pulling out.

Shaw said...

I'd be happy to provide you with lyrics to any of the songs on said record.

I think that a lot of Aria's imagery is inspired by the music he is influenced by, but I've oft gone through his record collection and found a lot of stuff that we can all agree is timeless. Also, he has a tendency to meat-dick people with tasty Led Zeppelin licks, so be careful.