As time goes by the trade off between being known for one song to the detriment of the rest of our catalogue seems like a fake news item that started afore this century, and being called “the most underrated group in Britain” suddenly takes on some charm. Then articles like this one in The Guardian appear, and all is rosey again. Radiohead fans that deny When I Was Born was ever Spin Magazines number 1 in 1997 can do one, and a little balance and truth is back again, many thanks Guy Smith.
If someone had said at the start of our duty in Rough Trade Shop in Portobello where we would be in 1996 as a band we would not believe it. Then again, if someone had said that come 2016 we would still be labelled as they UK’s most underrated band, as charming as the label can be, it does much to keep us in our place and sidelined. It is a very sad tale, a very long Mowgli walk, were it not for those that have supported us continually, and those that had seen fit to promote us, that put a Cornershop cassette album in hands of Soko claiming it would be of comfort in years to come, that named their goldfish Ben & Tjinder, or Tjinder & Ben I forget which, that with family and friends at a Paris gig, were so elated that years later used our music in their one of their film releases, that even when passed away asked for Jullandar Shere to be part of such passing.
The points are that they did such acts of their own volition. And so now to the Tim Kaine piece which spans the groups whole ground. It mentions not the B word, the word that also serves to keep us in our place, that takes into account that we work only on our own account mainly through our website, that reminds us that America got us in album form before the UK ever could. Most importantly, that other people can always express us better than we can:
“I was reading a Rolling Stone in 1997 and they had a review of their album When I Was Born For the 7th Time [by Neva Chonin]. I bought it and then have just proceeded to buy virtually everything they produce. They’re kind of odd. They’ll go years without producing anything. They don’t really tour very much. I’ve never seen them. I’d love to see them, but the number of live shows they do is very small. I don’t know what you’d call their music. It’s a mixture of Indian music and hip-hop and kind of funk music. They’re a very unique band and I really like Tjinder [Singh], the main guy.
I will go on their website on occasion just to see if they are coming over here to perform, but they do so few live shows. They’re kind of perfectionists. They’re really focused. They do what they want when they want it, but they’re working on their own plan and their own time schedule.
The first time I heard that song “Wog” off Woman’s Gotta Have It, I just thought, “These guys are just doing something I have not heard anybody else do.” They do some interesting covers. They’ve done a great cover of a wonderful Kinks song “Waterloo Sunset.” They did a cover of “Norwegian Wood” that’s spectacular – very true to [the original] except that it’s sung in Punjabi. They’ve done some great covers, but their original is always something surprising, always something you haven’t heard before.” Senator Tim Kaine, Democratic candidate for Vice President.
‘The Roll Off Characteristics (of History in the Making)‘ is a track from Cornershop‘s Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast album. When American film-maker Prashant Bhargava got in touch with us, he had used our track Topknot featuring Bubbley Kaur as the promo video for his film Patang. Looking at the footage we were impressed by the techniques – bright Fuji Color, blur outs, uneven and downright abstract & thought it a love marriage with the music. The footage also became the official video for the song, and Prashant went on to release the film to critical acclaim in 2012.
When the parents of such a love marriage talked to each other we got on so well that we asked if he had any unused footage from the film to do a video for ‘The Roll Off Characteristics of History in the Making.’ He provided wedding day footage of an actual wedding with Sgt Sardar’s Hearts Club Street Band. We consider the song to be a reflection of how the world has gone in terms of such events as middle-eastern wars being a ‘technical plip-plop’ and ‘honeycomb we are breaking’ being a referendum vote to exit from Europe.
This video used to be up on YouTube but somehow got corrupted – we blame no one, but are sure glad to have it up and running again.
On a very sad note, as we have written about before, Prashant suddenly passed away whilst working in New York. Even more a reason to celebrate the marriage.
You can read about Prashanthere, find out about his Patang film here and order yourself a copy of ‘Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast‘ on vinyl, on CD, or listen to it on Spotify.
Back in June before the European Referendum, we published this playlist on our Facebook page, saying “EU citizens: they are on your building sites, they pick your fruit, they are your new sister-in-law or your hairdresser, people seem to like bashing them these days – to celebrate their contribution to the UK here’s a little playlist for you: UK bands with members from other EU countries and European bands we like.” Even more needed now. Includes The Hanging Stars, The Raincoats, Stereolab, The Microgirls, Robert Rotifer, Soko, Whyte Horses, Bed Rugs, Savages and more.
In 1994 we recorded Born Disco; Died Heavy Metal, and put it out in tartan metal jacket and that was that (as per below), and then as part of our Hold On It Hurts album. Then we decided that that was not that and recorded it in easy listening form as part of the Hold On It’s Easy album. Now in 2016 we have decided to put vocals to it again in easy listening form, with vocals by The Mike Flowers Pops (further below). We promise not to have any other versions of it out ever, unless the opportunity presents itself, for we understand that easy listening is not always easy reading.
We have also decided to use this website more, and talk about some of the episodes the group has gone through, so if you have any questions please contact us.
Last year we released our 1994 debut noisy pop album completely reworked as an easy listening vinyl slab. It came out on our label Ample Play Records and you check it out and order it here.
“Cornershop’s creative highs have sometimes seemed like the result of Tjinder Singh’s desire to prove his critics wrong – never more so than on this instrumental reworking of their debut album.” John Mulvey, Uncut
Some stated the easy lounge was reminiscent of Mike Flowers Pops. In the meantime, Tjinder had got to know Mike Flowers drummer, and it was therefore arranged that Mike would do his take on the original lyrics. The result is something that is augmented and fresh – a solid set of tracks for all the family, they are even still in keeping with the politics of the day, if not more so.
To accompany the song, the UK’s most celebrated hoola hoopers Hoop La La especially created choreographed a piece for the video (film and photography by Phil Miller) – Ooh La La Lemmy.
Out 1st of April via all digital plaftorms, including our own Ample Play.
Sarah Vaughan ‘Gingerbread Man’
Cornershop ‘Born Disco; Died Heavy Metal (Version)’
Johnny Harris ‘Stepping Stones’
Henry Mancini & His Orchestra ‘Champagne & Quail’
Trevor Brown & The Maytones ‘Have You Time’
Johnny Harris ‘Paint It Black’
Cornershop ‘The New York Minute’
Sudden Death of Stars ‘Bright Sunday’
The Mike Flowers Pop ‘Light My Fire’
Cornershop ‘Good To Be Back On The Road Home Again’
Michel Magne ‘Une DS Dans Le Ciel’
Os Mutantes ‘Hey Boy’
Las Trilizas De Oro ‘Pochoclo’
Enoch Light & The Light Brigade ‘In The Mood’