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

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