Here comes the sun
Send Medicine brings a cure for the cold
By David Heldreth 01/16/2014
While a polar vortex just turned the rest of the country into a block of ice, another guest from the North will be warming up the stage in Ventura next week.
Send Medicine is bringing its blend of psychedelia, blues, western and folk to the Short Attention Span Theater at Green Art People. The group is the brainchild of Julian Hacquebard, a Toronto native and recent California transplant. Hacquebard moved to California approximately a year ago in the middle of the creation of his latest album, Warm Memories from the Rooftop.
Hacquebard may be new to California, but the West seems to have been in his blood from birth. From the name of his high school band, The Red Desperado Approach, to the song “Summer in California” on his first album, his career is littered with references to his new home.
Although Send Medicine’s new album was recorded in Toronto, it has a strong undercurrent of Southwestern atmosphere. The song “Seaside” brings you into the breathy, light world of a woman in love at the ocean. A surfy guitar line floats along until it dives into the solo and crescendos. The sound ironically moves from the coast to the desert in “Beach House,” as it meanders along at the pace of a snake trying to stay out of the sun. It could easily be played over the opening credits to any John Wayne classic. Send Medicine keeps the listener in the desert for the final track, “Ancient Love.” The drums and flute evoke feelings of a Native American ceremony.
The album gives you a series of fables or tales, something that comes naturally to Hacquebard. He has a degree in filmmaking. “I absolutely approach everything as a story,” Hacquebard says. “My favorite music always has an element of storytelling. People like Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen. They tell a full story in three minutes.”
Send Medicine’s sound wears Hacquebard’s influences like a tailored suit. From Lee Hazlewood to The Doors the music bounces around in style while holding its own sound. Hacquebard is clearly, and delightfully, obsessed with the ’60s and ’70s. His sound even seems to follow the arc of those decades. Hacquebard’s earliest recordings are arranged as singer-songwriter works, but each album has added to the sound figuratively and literally as Send Medicine has grown from Hacquebard solo to a full five-piece band.
Growing, however, doesn’t come without pain, even for a band. Hacquebard has been forced to leave the musicians he recorded Warm Memories from the Rooftop with and recruit an entirely new band since moving to Los Angeles.
The unique energy of California and the addition of new band members have pushed Hacquebard into new territory. “There’s definitely a happier, lighter, I would say just sunnier feeling living here,” Hacquebard said. “It has made my writing more optimistic. It’s the East vs. West thing. Like in the ’60s and ’70s with the difference between Lou Reed and The Doors or heroin vs. LSD.”
For a preview of Send Medicine’s sound, visit sendmedicine.bandcamp.com/album/warm-memories-from-the-rooftop. Send Medicine performs with New Sun, Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m. at Green Art People, 140 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura. For more information, visit www.greenartpeople.com.