Recorded in the kitchen of Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart, cities vs submarines is a ten minute journey into Aria Jalali's most vivid, reoccurring dreams. Railcars is an attempt to bring the images that have haunted Aria's mind to life using drum boxes, synths, and noise pedals with sentiments recreated in lyrical form. The current four member lineup for Railcars live performances was established by Jalali when asked to play some shows with Handsome Furs in April 2008, however Aria Jalali has also performed Railcars sets by himself, with only a laptop, guitar and pedal effects.
"You'll discover the big, skuzzy power-pop heart that shitgazers Times New Viking might have if they were machines instead of men (and women). The thumping, dirty electro beats might even inspire you to dance -- once you stop feeling so nervous, that is."
"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 Aria's dreams. "
- The Bay Bridged
"Jalali is not just some in-the-know dude with righteous bros, his music is every bit as hyperchromatic as the well-known acts he's played with, submerging pubescent pop songs in a tank of acidic gear drainage."
- RCRD LBL
"Flip the UHF dial through channels thick with snow, and stop for a whirling 18 minutes on a biography of Edmund The Martyr, 9th century King Of East Anglia. Cathedral With No Eyes is his story, told through the work of solo no-fi California recording artist Railcars (né Aria Jalali). Under abrasive programmed beats and acidic noise filler, you can learn how, canonized upon death—he was tortured, impaled with arrows and decapitated by a cadre of Vikings commanded by Ivar The Boneless—Edmund ascended to the throne as a young boy and was recorded in the annals of history as a pious and just ruler. Like its macabre religious back-story, Jalai's brief account of St. Edmund is dense, deep in chaotic realm of electro noise punk. The beating-trash-can drum machines and scratchy sound of this debut recall the wonky garage appeal of contemporaries like Psychedelic Horseshit as well as Xiu Xiu's 2006 release, The Air Force. (The latter resemblance isn't surprising since Jalai worked with Jamie Stewart on a 2009 7-inch, Railcars’ only release prior to Cathedral.) The first half of the record is all commotion, but it soon cools out with dirge-like melodies that penetrate the scuzz. And after five intense tracks, "Martyrdom Of Saint Edmund (End)," which tops off the album and brings Edmund's tale to a close, is submerged in a sea of soothing electronic white noise."
- CMJ (Lisa Hresko)