JO BARTLETT, DREAMY SOLO SINGLE? [FFO: CHROMATICS / BROADCAST]
- March 29, 2023
- International Music News, UK Music News
- by Desh Kapur UK-Editor/Photographer
(IT’S JO & DANNY)
GOES SOLO WITH THE SLEEPLESS FOLKTRONICA OF:
“I WAITED A YEAR”
– OUT 22 MARCH, VIA INDIE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS –
One half of acclaimed electronic / folk duo It’s Jo & Danny and founder of the Green Man Festival, Bartlett returns with the first genuinely solo music of her career.
New single “I Waited A Year” found its form during the intense heatwave of 2022. Restless from a bout of insomnia amidst those hot summer nights, Jo found solace from the sleeplessness in the sanctuary of her home studio and began laying down ideas that had been swimming around her mind.
Preoccupied by thoughts of another artist’s song she had lent her guest vocals to, which had since seemed to have disappeared into the musical ether, Jo decided to write a new track in dedication to it: “I Waited A Year”. As she explains:
“On ‘I Waited A Year’ I was wondering why I wasn’t sleeping. Was one of the reasons because I had put too much hope into a dance track I had done the vocals on earlier in the year? Maybe. So to write a song about a song seemed fitting.”
The result is a bespoke piece of bedroom pop that will evoke elements of the pristine synth-pop of Chromatics, the retro-futuristic psychedelia of Broadcast, and classic finesse of The Velvet Underground & Nico all at once.
Writing and recording the music three new songs during that creative spell last summer, “I Waited A Year” swiftly follows the previously released ‘I Don’t Want To Hear Any More Music’, which came out earlier this year to a rave reception and plays from tastemaker stations including BBC 6 Music, Radio X, and BBC London. Standby for a third release in the weeks to come.
Artist, producer, festival organiser, promoter, plugger and more; Jo Bartlett has worn many hats during her long and winding career in music. Initially inspired by the classic C86 Cassette, Jo cut her musical chops in a string of indie-pop bands throughout the 80s and 90s. Beginning as a teenage dreamer in The Essential Extras and The Service, Jo would soon find her first taste of success in established acts Go! Service and Bluetrain, both of whom released 12”s on Dan Treacey’s Dreamworld Records. Forming It’s Jo & Danny in 1999 with her long time partner Danny Hagan, the pair would release their debut album ‘Lank Haired Girl To Bearded Boy’ to rave reviews, with Q Magazine praising it as “unexpected and exciting” (⅘) and The Face comparing it to “Spiritualized fronted by Carole King”.
Before finding success with It’s Jo & Danny, the pair had worked as pluggers for Surrey’s infamous music haunt The Buzz Club (booking The Stone Roses, Blur, Suede and many more) and also as employees of the renowned indie labels Ultimate Records and Cherry Red respectively. Deciding to utilise their knowledge of the inner workings of the industry, Jo and Danny moved to Wales in 2003 to found the now legendary Green Man Festival; watching it grow from a 500 person grassroots event to 15,000 capacity major UK festival under their tenure. In more recent times, Jo co-founded The Yellow Moon Band (earning praise from Liam Gallagher and touring the world in the process) as well as her own label Indie Through The Looking Glass, by which she is now releasing her own solo material.
Whereas traditionally Jo has always created songs with Danny Hagan (with the latter taking the lead on the lyricism), her trio of brand new recordings for 2023 mark the first time she has written both the music and lyrics since she first started out. Of writing the new material, Jo says:
“These are the first real songs I have written the lyrics to since I was 17 and my debut single by my band Go! Service, ‘It Makes Me Realise’ was released on Dan Treacy’s (The Television Personalities) Dreamworld Records in 1985. I honestly think I have at last found my voice! I’m so loving writing and recording everything myself. I played all the instruments and recorded and mixed the songs. I haven’t yet played them to Danny as it feels too personal. He has heard me blasting them through the house in my studio / living room plenty of times though!”
With a further single planned for release this Spring, Jo Bartlett has also confirmed that plans for her debut solo album are already afoot too.