Hey Netflix, Chris Dunaway and Mockingbird Brother are ready for their close upPhoto by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Dear Netflix, (also Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime and other creators of original TV content),
We love you and you love music and we love music, so let’s be pen pals.
We’ll start and set the framework for what could maybe grow into an ongoing and mutually beneficial correspondence. Now and in future dispatches of this sort, we’ll offer cordiality typical of these sorts of exchanges. Hope the cast of Stranger Things is in fine health and spirits! Our best to everyone toiling away at Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! That sort of thing; but every note will also be a blatant, but well-reasoned attempt to have the brilliant and attractive aesthetes who place original music in your programs consider all songs Houston.
Yes, potential pen pals, we’re aware there are conventional means for bands from our locale (and elsewhere) to have their compositions licensed to your shows; but, doesn’t that all sound so bureaucratic and exhausting? There’s nothing better that receiving a letter from a friend! If that letter is mostly about good music coming mostly from the Houston area, well, so be it. And, if any of that music should get placed in one of your approaching series or films because you read this letter, we’re all winners, right?
So thanks, pen pals. Here’s hoping all your projects are on budget and already getting good, advanced buzz. Here are some songs now. Enjoy!
Your Friends in Houston
P.s. – Don’ t forget to write back!
Minor League, "The Great Southwest"
“The Great Southwest” sounds like an upbeat pop song and features a very versatile “Are we there yet?” refrain that happily gets cemented to the listener’s memory, which is exactly what you want for that pivotal travel scene, TV show music directors. Also works for those rom-com moments where the romantic leads ponder if their relationship has finally overcome all obstacles to finally come to that first-kiss moment. But, according to Minor League's Jeff Paxton Jr., who penned the song, it’s a rumination on death. You can hear this subtext in the lyrics about digging holes in the ground, slipping away and being buried “in the shade with a cigarette.” These heady notions and a jaunty, ‘90s-inspired melody, make it perfect for those darkly comic programs you’re producing, show runners.
Dead to the World, "Tax Man"
It’s not a remake of The Beatles’ 1966 hit, but an original and new track from Houston hardcore punk act, Dead to the World. This one’s a foray of sorts into pop punk territory for the band, which has delivered blistering and anthemic punk since 2007, and is one of four songs on its recent EP, Fire. It’s great for placement in any series focused on money-grubbing bastards or the smothering hands of the authority. Lines like “Fuck you, Tax Man, get off my back, man, come knockin’ on my door and catch a back hand,” are fun to sing along to and might resonate in scenes in series where the little guy finds himself taking on the machine. It’s also one lots of us might find timely and amusing to shout out ahead of the approaching filing deadline in April.
Silent Alonzo ft. JHurdy, "Dreams"
Hey TV Fuddleheads, are you looking for the right song to place in that vehicle which focuses on someone who’s determined to win against all odds? Someone insistent on victory despite dire circumstances? Someone who’s “just trying to turn this pile of shit into gold?” Well, look no further than “Dreams,” a recent release by Katy rapper Silent Alonzo. The video for the song plays out like a miniseries itself. It begins by panning past the grounds of an unnamed Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility and our Silent hero behind bars. As the video continues, he and cohort JHurdy rhyme about striving for success, all against opulent backdrops. The segment ends showing Silent Alonzo walking a lonely road near prison grounds, which symbolically suggests success isn’t about having things, it’s about overcoming whatever holds you down.
Mockingbird Brother, "Take Flight!/Hurricane"
The thrilling opening track of this indie rock band’s long-awaited debut full length, Crashes, is a flexible piece of work. The “Take Flight!” segment of the song is a harmonious instrumental composition that acts like a slowly swirling wind leading to the storm that follows. On its own, it can be used in a score to signify some approaching climax. What follows in “Hurricane” suits any project focusing on redemption or hopefulness. Lines like “I’m not the best but I’m trying hard,” and “If it goes on to do some good there’s hope for me” are universal and poignant. If the scene speaks to the salvation of more than a single individual, the song features sentiments about coming together like a family. Here’s hoping music-for-movie folks are sold on Mockingbird Brother’s plea at the song’s climactic ending, “If you can use it, please just take it all from me.”
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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.