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Jack Peñate

Who? Jack Peñate grew up playing guitar in South London bands, including in one with future Maccabees guitarist Felix White, but always felt he could connect better to the audience as a solo performer. After about a year of local gigging and earning acclaim for his energetic live show (he likes to dance, so much so that his particular move won itself a name: the “Peñate Polka”), Young Turks issued his debut single in December 2006. XL picked up the singer’s EP, May’s Spit at Stars, with plans for a full-length to be released sometime this fall.

What’s the Deal? Peñate’s soul-infused guitar pop on “Spit on Stars” is reminiscent of fellow South Londoner Jamie T’s fast-moving, off-the-cuff reggae-rap, except instead of British grime, Peñate’s clearly influenced American R&B and funk. He even pays tribute to one of its lesser-known stars with a cover of Bay Area pimp-cum-singer Darondo’s “Didn’t I,” and also shows his softer, romantic side on the sweet “My Yvonne.”

Fun Fact: The cover art for the 1,000 copies pressed of Peñate’s first single, “Second, Minute or Hour” b/w “Got My Favourite,” wasn’t just some run-of-the-mill design. Each was a unique Polaroid taken by Peñate and his band from a month-long span during their tour.

Now Hear This: Jack Peñate – “Second Minute or Hour” DOWNLOAD MP3