Barbara Manning Returns… Sort Of
Barbara Manning was responsible for some of the 90s’ best indie pop, but sales never matched her acclaim as a Godmother of DIY songcraft, and the Northern California native eventually faded from view. Until now. Manning has resurfaced on Bandcamp with a portion of her back catalog as well as Chico Daze, a collection of unreleased songs she recorded from 2004-09 while earning a biology degree in the same college town where she launched her music career as part of 28th Day.
In an email exchange Manning – who now lives in Long Beach with her husband and teaches high school science – told me she doesn’t consider Chico Daze an album, and that she’d be “afraid of a review…because they’re sort of a mish mash.” She has no plans for a physical release of these 12 tracks – a few solo, most performed with the three bands she formed while back in Chico.
The new material is up to Manning’s usual standard and is recommended for fans, but I’d first steer newcomers to the superb Homeless Is Where the Heart Is (available on the Bandcamp site), or Super Scissors, the obsessively expanded reissue of her 1988 solo debut.