Willis Earl Beal - 'A Place That Doesn't Exist'

Willis Earl Beal - 'A Place That Doesn't Exist'

Last year, Willis Earl Beal, a US army vet who was patronisingly marketed as a singing hobo after he signed to XL in 2012, said of his brush with the music industry, “My experiences make me want to be a nobody again.” The unexpected...

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Willis Earl Beal - 'Nobody Knows'

Willis Earl Beal - 'Nobody Knows'

No longer is Willis Earl Beal wearing the moth-eaten suit of a crotchety bluesman and whispering about “ smoking that chronic ” like a time-travelling Dr Dre on the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s, as he was on last year’s unsettling debut...

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Willis Earl Beal - 'Acousmatic Sorcery'

Willis Earl Beal - 'Acousmatic Sorcery'

‘Outsider music’ feels like an old-fashioned concept these days. It still serves as a descriptor for lots of extraordinary artists, though: people who either didn’t fit the record industry’s specifications, or just ignored it entirely and...

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Willis Earl Beal - 'Ghost Robot'

Willis Earl Beal - 'Ghost Robot'

Willis may be XL’s new big hope, but he’s just been exposed as a former X Factor hopeful (appearing on the US version in 2011). Fortunately ole high trousers rejected him, which is just as well as this new ragged raw track would have Syco...

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Willis Earl Beal - 'Monotony'

Willis Earl Beal - 'Monotony'

There’s a lot of excitement about Willis Earl Beal’s first ever UK dates, taking place this week – making it doubly impressive that Beal’s conjured up all this fervour with little more than a badly recorded acoustic strum and a gently...

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Willis Earl Beal - 'Take Me Away'

Willis Earl Beal - 'Take Me Away'

Chicagoan Beal, the multi-talented, multi-genred first signee to XL’s new imprint Hot Charity, has declared his desire to be “the black Tom Waits”. Sure enough, this righteously malevolent clamour, all hammer-and-tongs bellowing and...

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