Pass the Aux: New Tracks by Ally Cocaine, Jax the Band, Rexx Life Raj and Dax Pierson

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Ally Cocaine and 10 Piece Tone in the ”Boss Type” music video. (Courtesy of the artists)

Do you miss packing your friends into the car and passing around the aux cord, playing your favorite tracks, singing along and dancing in your seat? We do too—which is why the KQED Arts & Culture team is introducing our new, biweekly music column, Pass the Aux. Every two weeks, we’ll share new(ish) releases from Bay Area artists, across a variety of genres. Hip-hop, pop, experimental, jazz, R&B, rock, folk and classical all have a home here. Here’s what we have on deck this week.—Nastia Voynovskaya

Ally Cocaine, “Boss Type” feat. 10 Piece Tone

The video for Ally Cocaine’s recently released track “Boss Type” (feat. 10 Piece Tone) has the flavor of a classic Blaxploitation film. The lively attire, the freshly laid hairdos and the drop-top, American-made vehicle chauffeured by producer Big Spence all play into the plot. Directed by Ariel Mei, the video depicts Ally as the head of an operation of some sort; the details of the business aren’t disclosed, but other women who don't wear a lot of clothes are obviously bringing her money. The video’s concept compliments the subject matter in the bass-heavy track, in which Ally raps, “I’m the boss type / If I was Tina Turner, I would’ve offed Ike.” The standalone single also serves as a good introduction to Ally Cocaine’s music, clearly capturing both her lyrical ability and her “I don’t play that B.S.” attitude.—Pendarvis Harshaw

Jax the Band, “What If”

Formed in 2013, Jax the Band is a Haitian-American family band of three homeschooled siblings from Oakland, California. The group dropped the music video for their song “What If” earlier this month, a track that was released as part of their debut album The Glo Up in October 2020. The two-minute song features dreamy vocals and harmonies from singer Sudan Jackson, backed by tranquil and uplifting instrumentals. The music video, filmed in various locations throughout the Bay Area, features quick cuts between a series of straightforward shots with Sudan at the center, mirroring the deceptively simple yet captivating song itself, and portraying the passage of time as her hair changes and the weather shifts.—Samuel Getachew


Rexx Life Raj, “Bad Bad Bad”

Over the past year, we’ve read about entertainers and influencers going against COVID-19 protocols and throwing lavish parties in their mansions. Not Rexx Life Raj. In his new music video for “Bad Bad Bad,” he’s dressed in a Bubble Boy-meets-astronaut COVID shield as he ventures around the Bay Area, playing pick-up basketball, strolling on Haight Street and unsuccessfully attempting to eat charcuterie through his air-sealed helmet. The video showcases a lighthearted side of the artist, who has a sense of humor despite being known for delivering sage advice in the form of lyrical gems. Those come through on this guitar-driven, motivational hip-hop track, in which Raj relishes his successes and thinks back with a laugh at those who doubted him. With a demeanor as down-to-earth as people swapping money-making tips on Clubhouse, Raj raps about the multiple streams of income he’s pursuing to make it as an independent artist in a pandemic.—Nastia Voynovskaya

Dax Pierson, Nerve Bumps

If you've ever laid on your floor listening to Pharoah Sanders or Alice Coltrane and felt the music speaking to you directly, then you know it takes a special kind of artist to convey ideas and feelings through purely instrumental music. And even then, when it happens, it’s often through the human-like vibrations of acoustic instruments. Dax Pierson, meanwhile, has mastered the art of communication in the electronic realm. While his previous album Live In Oakland resonated with a darker ambiance, having drawn upon his recovery from a 2005 crash that left him partially paralyzed, the preview clips from his upcoming full-length Nerve Bumps are lively, complex, and pulsating with emotion. I can’t wait for the full-length, coming in late February, so I can lay on the floor at let it speak to me.—Gabe Meline