Cornershop Biography by Professor Kenneth FitzGerald

Cornershop‘s career is defined by defiantly unconventional moves, in its sound and approach to music making. Foremost is a determination stated by Tjinder Singh, “The only thing that all our records have in common is that each one tries to sound utterly different.”

It’s a resolve Cornershop has delivered on since its launch in 1993. They began as a raucous guitar-based agit-pop-group – with a difference. Amidst the thrilling din was Punjabi-sung tracks accompanied by sitar and dholki. Captured first on the EPs In the Days of Ford Cortina and Lock Stock and Double Barrel, Cornershop issued their debut LP, Hold On It Hurts in 1994. Though still rough and direct, the album’s tracks displayed textures exhibiting a broader musical vocabulary and intent.

Amongst Hold On It Hurts‘s admirers was David Byrne, who signed Cornershop in the U.S. to his Luaka Bop label, proclaiming, “We could see that they were headed in a direction that no one else dared travel. And we liked it.” The new transatlantic partnership boosted 1995‘s Woman’s Gotta Have It, one of the most startling and venturesome sophomore albums released by a band. The Asian/western mixes and sonic experiments bloomed and took center stage, notably in the U.K. and U.S. club success 6 A.M. Jullandar Shere.

Cornershop‘s breakthrough 1997 record, When I Was Born for the 7th Time, initiated unprecedented international acclaim. The record is a landmark of sonic invention and adventure, a cornucopia of compelling pan-cultural grooves. The album boasts Cornershop‘s signature track Brimful of Asha, possessing the most unlikely – yet inclusive – refrain in pop music history: “Everyone needs a bosom for a pillow.” It also included notable collaborations with Allen Ginsberg, The Automator, and a cover of The BeatlesNorwegian Wood‘ sung in Punjabi.

When I Was Born for the 7th Time was included in Rolling Stone‘s “Essential Recordings of the 90’s,” and Spin ranked it #34 in their “90 Greatest Albums of the ’90s” – after making it #1 in their “Top 20 Albums Of The Year” (besting, amongst others, Radiohead’s OK Computer). Similar rankings came from Q, NME, Melody Maker, and The Village Voice, amongst others.

Cornershop‘s recorded response to the attention was true to form and its self. Rather than building the Cornershop brand, they adopted the “Clinton” avatar for 1999‘s Disco and the Halfway to Discontent. The gratifying success of When I Was Born seemed irrelevant to where Singh and Ayres (now the core of the group and remaining original members) wanted to go.

The destination was the dance floor. Disco is a laid back yet insistent collection of fizzy grooves containing the hallmark guest vocals, stylistic twists, and a toolbox of genres. It provided further proof (if needed) that Singh‘s sonic imagination seemed limitless. This was especially evident when Cornershop quadruple-downs in 2002 on its next album – and masterpiece to dateHandcream for a Generation.

On the surface, the record follows its predecessor’s path: some band-performances, scratch and sample collages, genre exercises, and cross cultural fusions traversing reggae, funk, and soul. Tracks are longer and more fully realized, starring a diverse guest cast including legendary soul singer Otis Clay, Noel Gallagher and Guigsy of Oasis, and London reggae figures Jack Wilson and Kojak. Handcream achieves its singular status for being the band’s most extensively ambitious and fulfilling of the band’s aesthetic.

After touring in support of Handcream, Tjinder Singh announces a leave of absence to work on a film about the independent music industry. However, in a “creative splurge,” Cornershop releases a double A side single, Topknot/Natch on Rough Trade in 2004, its initial collaboration with the Bubbley Kaur. Where Handcream was expansive and complex, these tracks are stunningly intimate and simple, seamlessly fusing Kaur‘s haunting Punjabi vocals with funk-inspired rhythms.

Cornershop‘s maternity leave ends with the 2009 release of Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast on its own Ample Play label. After a trio of assertively far-reaching records, Judy’s relative simplicity is startling in its own right. Cornershop is here to rock – but in its own inimitable way. If traditional chorus-verse songs with great riffs and hooky melodies are the intent, Judy provides them on every track. After Brimful of Asha, there should be no doubt in Singh ability to pen abiding tunes. Judy proves he can deliver an album’s worth.

Judy is a coup of a flexible and seasoned live-capable band. In its most direct and appealing album, Cornershop stays true to defying expectations and making the move appear radical.

Close after Judy comes the culmination of further collaboration with Bubbley Kaur, the 2010 album Cornershop and the Double O Groove of. At the heart of the record is Tjinder Singh‘s desire to “mix western music with Punjabi folk in a way that wasn’t crude.” “Western music” encompasses a multiplicity of stances and Singh doesn’t skimp, offering ten stylistically dissimilar tracks, unified in accomplishment in framing Bubbley Kaur‘s mellifluous melodies.

The recent postDouble ‘O’ step was the May 2011 launch of Ample Play‘s The Singhles Club, a six-tracks-for a 6 pound subscription service. The project offers limited edition outtakes “reimagining the collectable single in a digital format with special added content; a digital popadom.” It’s a novel approach to distribution that like the music it offers, abounds in adventure and invention. With Cornershop, the only certainty is that something distinctly new is on the way.

Kenneth FitzGerald

Associate Professor of Art

Old Dominion University, Norfolk Virginia USA

Author, Volume: Writings on Graphic Design, Music, Art, and Culture (Princeton Architectural Press)

a focus on the Singhles Club’s printable artwork

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:

1. Non-Stop Radio character from video turned 3D to fold and play for any office with a sense of humour.

2. Colouring Sheet created by Rude, who have recently design a range of products for Tate Modern

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 Rawlinsonwww.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 info@cornershop.com

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BBC interviews Nikki Bedi, Hardeep Kohli, & Cerys Mathews

Tjinder Singh interviewed……

Nikki Bedi BBC Radio London interview with Tjinder

Hardeep Singh Kohli BBC Radio 2 interview with Tjinder

Cerys BBC 6music interview with Tjinder

Cerys BBC 6music interview with Tjinder

Battle Of New Orleans, Extended Play, out now on CD

the battle of new orleans, Cornershop, ample play recordsGet It Now!

Title: The Battle Of New Orleans, Extended Play

Group: Cornershop

Label: Ample Play Records

Release date: 2/Nov/2010

To order a CD, as our shop is still being refurbished, please send £3.99 to ‘info@cornershop.com’ via Paypal and we will send you the CD anywhere in the world.

The battle continues afresh with The Battle of New Orleans EP out from November 2nd, 2010 through their Ample Play label, featuring four unreleased tracks including a new remix of Soul School from their current album, Judy Sucks a Lemon For Breakfast.

View the latest video:

Cornershop - Houston Hash

Click here to get to the Free Download of Soul School - School Dinners Track

Listen to Previews of the New EP:

1. Houston Hash 1. Houston Hash - PREVIEW

Houston Hash is the ultimate truck driving song, with a lighthearted description of the road as well as home life, put another way trucks & cooking.

The track was produced in cooperation with the United Association of Songleading Staff & was regularly used for instruction at all Devon & Cornwall Songleading Summer Camps.  It is recommended that you check with your Band Director before ordering music arrangements.

2. Soul School, School Dinners 2. Soul School: School Dinners - PREVIEW

The usual Soul School with an added dress-down Friday funk from Cambridge, Massachusetts…with more bits from Manchester & Liverpool to drive it home.

3. The Battle Of New Orleans 3. The Battle of New Orleans - PREVIEW

Just before he passed away legendary BBC Radio 1 Disc Jockey, John Peel asked his favourite groups to record a Lonnie Donegan track for him to play across his Christmas/New Year Special shows.  We chose The Battle Of New Orleans, which he took high in the charts, and also hit the number one spot in the US in 1959 performed by Johnny Horton.  They love the track for its attitude, spirit and for the fact that it was one of the earliest country tracks to top the charts.

4. Lynndie England 4. Lynndie England - PREVIEW

As the old reggae spirituals said “love is lovely and war is very, very ugly,” & this contemplates the end of all wars including New Orleans to more modern expeditions.

We are currently redesigning our Cornershop Shop, therefore, order a CD, please send £3.99 to ‘info@cornershop.com’ via Paypal and we will send you the CD anywhere in the world.

A free bonus track entitled As We Enter The Century’s Clit will also be available at certain outlets.

Ample Play & Cornershop.com

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cornershop.com facebook.com/cornershophq myspace.com/cornershop

Hold On It Hurts LP

Hold On It Hurts, album by Cornershop 1993
Cornershops first album Hold On It Hurts, 1993

Amazon.com reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars A pivotal moment for indie rock, June 17, 2004

This review is from: Hold on It Hurts (Audio CD)

Forget “Brimful of Asha“, this band’s noble yet watered-down attempt at a crossover hit song… “Hold on it Hurts” is their finest moment.

As has been mentioned before, the influences are there – Velvet Underground, Pavement, 60s garage, and traditional Indian music. What you might not hear – unless you’re familiar with the band’s history – is the influence of the scene that they grew out of. As documented in the underground – and criminally unknown – video fanzine “Getting Close to Nothing”, Cornershop were part of a somewhat politicized, new scene of socially aware London indie rockers, where issues of race, gender and sexuality were focal points and even central themes for many bands of the time (Huggy Bear, Voodoo Queens, Sister George, etc.). It’s notable that – in their call-to-arms anthem “England’s Dreaming” – they not only urged a protest against racist attacks, but also against sexism and homophobia as well. That song mixed Morrissey’s lyrics with Public Enemy, as both a way to critique Moz’s recent flirtation with fascist imagery (“National Front Disco”) and as a statement of cross-cultural protest… by namechecking icons of both black and white music, they subverted the usually polarized and simplistic ideas of race and made a name for Asians – especially South Asians – in the rock scene.

All that aside, this is a really fantastic, interesting, provocative and heartfelt album, succeeding as only the best music does… by allowing you to transcend your normal existence on this planet and to imagine a greater one.