Baba Jenkins Presents “Touro de Lide”

Every matador knows: you don’t want to mess with the Touro de Líde. That’s the big bull, the bad-tempered beast on sand, the aggressive nemesis who’ll charge you and gore you before you know what happens. In his relentlessness, uncompromising stance, and the speed with which he’s upon you, the Touro is a metaphor for bad news and maybe life itself. Funk rockers Baba Jenkins don’t underestimate the bull. In “Touro de Lide,” the combative new single from Copper, the band’s incendiary debut album, the band sings about the perils of living life on the wire. The desperate narrator is determined to beat poverty and provide for his family by any means necessary. “I talk a real good game,” he tells us, with the swagger of a born fighter. He’s confident — but he knows that confidence isn’t enough.

If all that sounds dramatic, it’s just another day’s work for Baba Jenkins, who’ve been alternately delighting and mesmerizing Los Angeles audiences for the past year. Copper announced the coming of a new band with a fresh sound for fans of rock: a raw, knife-edged amalgam of electric blues, roughneck funk, two-fisted rock, and hard-nosed alternative music. And just because the group’s rise has been meteoric — they’ve had over a million views on their independent YouTube releases and landed their uncompromising songs on close to a thousand playlists — it hasn’t been easy. As effortless as it has looked, they’ve battled for every inch they’ve gained.

“Touro de Líde” is the story of that struggle. In it, lead singer Rone Worthen is both the bull and the bullfighter, the irresistible force and the man on his own, staring down long odds and refusing to lose. He’s late on the rent and hunted by the authorities; rebellion is in the air, but he may not live to see the fruits of what he’s fighting for. The band backs up his high-stakes storytelling with stinging, muscular riffs and pounding beats that make Jenkins’s urgency, fear, rage, and wild hope all gloriously palpable.

Worthen ends the “Touro de Líde” clip just as they begin it: on the floor, breathing hard, glasses askew, and the world blurring around him. But between those shots, he’s up on his feet, throwing phrases like punches, charging around a tight practice space with a claustrophobically low ceiling. He’s a bull in a pen, scraping his hoofs against the ground, ready to charge forward and make all the noise he can. Whether he stands or falls, he’ll make sure you know he’s there.

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