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Television City

Television City

Rock & roll is a lot like love — you keep on giving it another try even when you ought to know better. Why? Because it’s fun and it feels good, at least when it’s working.

Brian Raleigh has been playing rock & roll long enough to know the odds career-wise, and that it doesn’t pay to wear your heart on your sleeve in a world where shtick sells better than truth and soul. But for good or ill, Raleigh refuses to give up the ghost, and after fighting the good fight with his bands Porchsleeper and Fidrych (not to mention plenty of other projects that drifted under the radar), he’s back with a new project, Television City. And it’s clear Raleigh hasn’t given up on rock for a really good reason — he’s good at it, and he and his friends having a blast playing it.

Television City finds Raleigh and his cohorts mixing up a roots rocker’s love of a good melody, a rock dude’s passion for big guitars, and an aging punk’s undying affection for energy and snarky wit. Then add in the no-bullshit heart, soul, and sweat of a guy who has spent years wearing out albums by the Replacements, Springsteen, and Soul Asylum (pre-Grave Dancer’s Union, please), among the many acts who’ve left their mark on his musical imagination. This is hooky, shout-along rock for people who know that rock ‘n’ roll can save your life, as long as you’re not so foolish as to take it too seriously. It’s music for a Saturday night that can still find a home during the middle of the week.

Television City is Raleigh’s vehicle — he writes the songs, sings lead, and plays guitar — but he knows a good rock band is rarely a one man show, and he’s assembled a great team of like-minded musicians to help bring the tunes to life. His partners in Television City are local guitar hero Garret Bielniec, Kristin Von B. (Crossed Lines and Betty Cooper) on piano and backing vocals, Chuck Bartels (Bettye LaVette and Sturgill Simpson) on bass, David Below (Brandon Calhoon and Radium) on drums, along with keyboards from Dave Feeny (Blanche and American Mars).

With great songs, solid players, and a infallible instinct about when to emphasize the tunes and when to crank the guitars, Television City is the sort of band that can remind you why you fell for this rock ‘n’ roll business in the first place. Except they’ll try hard not to make you regret it in the morning.