Getting People Over the Beatles: A Series Examining the Greats of British (and UK) Pop Music – Wonders in the Dark Magazine
And today’s final selection is a bit of an obscure oddball representing how large, and thus wide the scope of BritPop became in such a short time (purists of the genre consider it to have only existed from late 1994 to sometime in 1998). Looking over the general consensus of BritPop there becomes a rather strict look and ideology to what it is, and as an American I can only say that the version we got was even more regimented then the one that was actually happening in the mid-1990s. But when one looks even just a little closer does the wealth of ideas (culturally, socially, and politically), and how radical many of them were begins to accurately take shape. Then, looking even closer does one start to find genuine different bands, on just aesthetics alone, as it’s way too easy (and incorrect) to reduce BritPop to ‘music just for laddish men’ created by said ‘laddish’ men.
Perhaps the most interesting of these bands was Cornershop. Culturally they represented the large Indian population of England, with even their name being derived from a racist connotation about their culture owning a perceived abundance of 7-11 like corner market shops. It was a tongue in cheek in-your-face account of their supposed place in British culture. In short, a perfectly quick representation of their ironic, satiric, and often politically refreshing multi-culturally embracing music.
They started with two EP’s (now both collected on the Elvis Sex Change  disc), that showed the band in looser, rawer state. There’s plenty of lo-fi pop, but there is sonic noise experimentation too. From there 1994’s Hold On It Hurts (also stripped down indie meets leftist post-punk), and Woman’s Gotta Have It from 1995 (the first album where their unique sound – later called Hindi-pop – began to really take shape. They’re almost reclaiming the sitar, an Indian instrument, from the Anglos [most notably the Beatles] back to Indians and with it a symbol of their culture as a whole) began to show the multifaceted nature of Tjinder Singh‘s sly brilliance.
But it’s all a definite precursor to the main course, 1997’s stunning When I Was Born for the 7th Time. It’s an album that most here have probably heard, but were never aware of, more then a testament to easy hypnotic quality (plus ‘Brimful of Asha‘ was a surprise alt-hit of 1997, bringing them even if just for a second to the level of say an English Beck. The tunes are as interesting and varied, for this culture what Odelay was for American alt-pop in there collage like qualities). There are plenty of beat laden instrumentals where all their styles mix; there’s indian sitars, funk guitars, trip-hop and trance beats, essentially it’s a world music BritPop record, highly original, but never a novelty. It’s always grounded in a melodic sense of golden, glorious Pop.
Sure, ‘Brimful of Asha‘ was the hit (and it’s no wonder it’s one of the great songs of its era, or any era for that matter), but then there’s the smooth bass melody of ‘Candyman‘ (which us Americans will know from a recent LeBron Nike commercial), the homemade hip-hop of ‘State Troopers‘, ‘Good Shit‘ is the upwards surge of late 90’s optimism (and again, us Americans will know it from the Target ad), the lead track accordion whimsy of ‘Sleep On the Left Side‘ which gives ‘Asha‘ a run for the best single from the album, ‘Good to Be on the Road Back Home‘ is as authentic in the English rural style as anything Ronnie Lane ever offered, and finally there’s the cover of the definitive sitar Pop song of all time, the Beatles ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)‘ which, in their native language, just soars to transcendency.
From there they’d release three more critically acclaimed albums (all are highly recommended; Handcream for a Generation  has the added BritPop boost of featuring Noel Gallagher on a track or two, Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast  was a triumphant needed return what with the political climate what it was in the late 2000’s and it’s a glam rocker to boot, and 2011’s Cornershop and the Double ‘O’ Groove Of was yet another redefining of a band always looking to redefine not only themselves and their form [pop music] but the larger culture around them), and I must say, in a perfect world this Series wouldn’t need to exist for pop fans to listen to this type of stuff. ‘Everyone needs a buxom for a pillow’, my thoughts exactly. Just essential.
We are coming to the end of the limited edition Singhles Club, and track 5 is Who’s Gonna Lite It Up featuring Izzy Lindqwister. Izzy has now relocated to Paris, and Tjinder has done a few collaborations with her. When you get tweets describing it like this: “Really hot new “Singhles” track from @CornershopHQ. It’s like Zakir Hussain meets The Black Angels” by A. Myers, well no-one could have described it better.
The accompanying artwork or digital popadom is a dress your own doll with Camille Walala, who’s already lit a few things in the clothes designing area and is set spread out doing more things, such as furniture as our old friend Jean Charles Etienne showed us last night. We commend it all to the house, and if you have not joined the Singhles Club, it gives you 6 exclusive tracks and 6 special digital popadoms, direct from the band themselves, you may do so here
Who’s Gonna Lite It Up Cornershop ft Izzy Lindqwister by cornershop
Other Music NYC Review:
“Everyone needs to stop what they are doing and pay special attention to this album. Cornershop returned from an extended hiatus last year with the excellent glam-gospel soul of the criminally slept-on Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast, which saw Tjinder Singh, Ben Ayres, & co sharpening their hooks, tightening their grooves, and delivering what may actually have been their tightest, catchiest album yet, fusing T.Rex with Syl Johnson with a touch of Ananda Shankar‘s rock’n’raga (to very much oversimplify). After such a perfect distillation of the band’s influences and enthusiasms (better even than the group’s classic When I Was Born For the 7th Time), where to go next? During the group’s time away, folks like Diplo and MIA (to name but a few) took the blueprints drafted by Cornershop and refitted them to the hip-hop/dance scene, helping to take globally-conscious influences into Western pop music with hugely successful results. Prior to Judy Sucks A Lemon, one of the only dispatches we had really heard from the group since 2002 was a stellar double-A-side single “Topnotch/Natch” in 2004, which saw the group showcasing the heavenly Punjabi vocals of newcomer Bubbley Kaur, a singer the group allegedly discovered in their local launderette, delivering what was simultaneously the group’s most vintage and modern recording to date. (It’s also worth noting that MIA herself asked to appear on the single, throwing down a guest verse on a remix of “Topknot.”)
Well, here we are in 2011 with The Double ‘O’ Groove Of, ten songs of deep, sunny funk and dusty collusionist grooves with the gorgeous Kaur at center stage, placing perhaps the heaviest emphasis yet on the group’s Indian roots with spectacular results. Tjinder‘s vocals are nowhere to be found on this album, yet his and Ayres‘s voices are heard as loudly and clearly as Kaur‘s, fusing her siren calls into musical tapestries that enliven but never overwhelm her vocals; everything from percolating, brassy funk breaks to Tin Pan Alley piano are utilized to dizzying, dazzling effect. Overtop this choice blend, Kaur sounds like a seasoned playback singer, and the arrangements ably update the postmodern feel of classic Bollywood composers like RD Burman by fusing new influences into the the mix; the beatbox boom-bap, harpsichords, and squelchy bass of “Double Decker Eyelashes” and the sliced’n’diced brass & woodwind fanfares of “Once There Was A Wintertime” draw direct lineage from Asha Bhosle to Run DMC, while “The 911 Curry” sees Kaur chanting overtop a boisterous, Diplo-esque bhangra/moog beat. Rather than fighting the grooves, Kaur sounds relaxed and confident, and it’s this chilled confidence that helps make the album such a refreshing success. On “The Biro Pen,” the group delivers a chunky Randy Newman-esque piano line overtop thick, crashing drums, while album closer “Don’t Shake It” injects fingerpicked acoustic guitar runs into a Hammond organ groover, sounding like Harry Nilsson sitting in with James Brown and Richard “Groove” Holmes, inspiring you to shake it after all. Thankfully, the group is also savvy enough to include both sides of the aforementioned single; the hypnotic circular guitar figures and clattering dholki drum patterns of “Topknot” are perhaps the most relaxing moments on the album, while the double-dutch breaks and pop-locking bass of “Natch” are a personal favorite, with Kaur singing deep in the echo chamber like a ghost of go-gos past.
All in all, this has been one of the most infectious, joyful, and straight-up funky records I’ve had the pleasure of hearing so far this year; since first receiving a copy about a month ago, I’ve not been able to stop listening to it. I’ve got to give top marks to Cornershop for pulling off such a brilliant slice of multiculturalist unity without making a big f-ing deal about it. And that overall is what makes the record such a success; where many artists are keen to push their broad-ranging influences and obsessions in your face, Cornershop and Bubbley Kaur just want you to take them at face value– it’s all music, it’s all valid, and best of all, it’s all good. I’m hard-pressed to believe that anyone is going to release a new album in 2011 that I’m going to enjoy more than I do this one, and I can’t give a higher recommendation than that.”[IQ]
The Paperhead release their debut release in the UK, Focus In On The Looking Glass on Ample Play Records on vinyl format only.
On first listen, you may think that you’ve stumbled across some long lost nugget from 1968. In fact, The Paperhead take their name from a lyric in a song by golden-age psychedelic age group July and they deal in lysergic haziness, with a colourfully confusing filter. Yet while the record may have a fairly vintage sound, it was written and recorded in the summer of 2010 by three 18 year old kids from Nashville, Tennessee. It has been championed on a number of occasions by James Endicott and here are what Record Collector and Shindig Magazine say about it:
the Singhles Club & its printable artwork (AKA digital popadoms)
Tjinder Singh has produced unreleased tracks, which have been coming out as one-sided releases called The Singhles Club, and at the same time freeing up the hard disk of Mr. Singh’s headspace. For 6pounds Subscribers get 6 tracks in their inbox at the pace of one month.
With each track Subscribers get a collectable printable artbook. We are pleased to have developed relationships with film-makers, graphic designers and illustrators, who have created these artworks:
3. Urban Turban Mask by our own Nick Edwards who has done many of our art sleeves over the years including the all the record covers in the Brimful of Asha video, & most of the Cornershop catalogue.
Solid Gold featuring Katie and will it feature in your head if given a couple of listens. In line with our past releases it is out of line with what other music is going down, and to help you swallow & celebrate that difference we have a 4. Judy Sucks A Lemon Cocktail Recipe as designed by Helen Rawlinson – www.helenrawlinson.com, with a recipe created by the forever tip top Dishoom
To join the Singhles Club at any time and get your back issues subscribe here
Any questions please email email@example.com
From Italy’s youthful mashhhrecords label, Tjinder has collaborated with Casa Del Mirto.
The result is a song called Snap Yr Cookies.
Press image below to see the video