Amanda DeBoer Bartlett stands in a forest, one hand in her hair, wearing a billowing, diaphanous white top and a lavender skirt. She looks out of frame to the right.
Amanda DeBoer Bartlett Credit: Tom Bartlett

This weekend is a big one for Ensemble dal Niente vocalist Amanda DeBoer Bartlett. On Sunday, February 26, she’ll sing with the ensemble as they close the 2023 Frequency Festival at Constellation. And on Friday, February 24, she’ll release a solo album of folk-inspired tunes, The Bones Still Glow, that she’s been writing for 16 years. Bartlett describes the songs as having “traveled along with me as a young, touring classical musician” and “chronicled my transformation into motherhood.” As befits an artist capable of improvising as well as performing demanding compositions, Bartlett covers a wide range with her songwriting: it includes glowing country ballads (such as “Measure My Life”) as well as more unsettled tunes (“Cobra,” which bursts with dark electronic effects). Bartlett’s accompanists include album coproducer Dana Murray (drums, synthesizers) and fellow Ensemble dal Niente members Jesse Langen (guitar) and Emma Hospelhorn (flute), who highlight Bartlett’s lovely, ringing tones with engaging textures. Bartlett has announced a release party for The Bones Still Glow on Saturday, March 18; it’s also at Constellation, with opening acts Em Spel (Hospelhorn’s solo project) and Mesonjixx.

Many of the songs on The Bones Still Glow began as poems that Bartlett wrote on the road.

Chicago drone masterminds Bitchin Bajas have a soft spot for Sun Ra, whose work they reinterpreted for the 2021 album Switched On Ra. According to Reader contributor Steve Krakow, Bitchin Bajas have performed the material from that album in Chicago just twice, but on Thursday, February 23, the band will revisit the Switched On Ra material at the Music Box. Their set precedes a screening of the 1974 avant-garde sci-fi film Space Is the Place, cowritten by and starring Ra. Bitchin Bajas play at 7:30 PM, and the screening is at 8:45 PM.

Switched On Ra also includes renditions of “A Call for All Demons” and “We Travel the Spaceways.”

Last month, Chicago singer, songwriter, and poet Kara Jackson dropped the mesmerizing, folky single “Dickhead Blues” b/w “Brain,” which cements her status as one of the best young musicians in town. On Friday, February 24, Jackson and local psych-soul artist Jada-Amina open for Chicago native KeiyaA at Sleeping Village.

Both songs on Kara Jackson’s new single were written and recorded with help from Kaina, Sen Morimoto, and Nnamdï.

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