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Wednesday, 12 September 2012 12:14

David Wax Museum 9/12/12 + Video

David Wax Museum outside the  KDHX studio David Wax Museum outside the KDHX studio Jonathan Miller
Written by Blair Stiles
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  • Date Recorded: September 12, 2012
  • Artist / Band: David Wax Museum
  • Hosting Show: Bittersweet Melody
  • Sound: Dan Kinney
  • Video: Paul Oyrem

David Wax Museum cannot be accused of sleepwalking through their latest effort, 2012's "Knock Knock Get Up." The sound is alive with rousing south-of-the-border influences.

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Pickled with Latin American instruments, the authentic jarana and donkey jaw-built quijada clean David Wax Museum's music of kitsch mariachi comparisons.

David Wax, a Columbia, Mo. native, graduated from Harvard in 2006. On a fellowship from his alma mater, he ventured to Mexico. Taken by the music of the region -- son calento, son huasteco and son jarocho -- he began extracurricular studies in genre fusion.

Accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Suz Slezak and Greg Glassman, David Wax Museum's music is a cross-cultural playground of complex musicianship that respects foreign aesthetics while integrating domestic staples. The band combines Spanish-infused jam-band sensibilities and traditional American folk songwriting. 2011's "Everything is Saved" leads with "Born with a Broken Heart," in which wordplay reminiscent of Paul Simon's "Graceland" steps all over a danceable huapango beat. "The Rumors are True," off "Knock Knock Get Up," has Wax's cloudy vocals top a track founded in Mexican horn work.

The result is a curious cue to explore the unknown. If Wax can go south and find inspiration, where else might it be found?

All photos by Jonathan Miller.

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