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, 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


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

Cornershop & The Double ‘O’ Groove Of – full tracklist & Pre-order details

Ample Play Release

Artists: Cornershop featuring Bubbley Kaur

Title: Cornershop & The Double O Groove Of

Release Date: 14 March 2011   Label: Ample Play Records

CD Cat: AMPLA CD 09   Download Cat: AMPLA DD 09

1 United Provinces Of India 3:26     Full fat funk melds with the cream of Punjabi folk, asking the question, why has such naturalness never been done before.

2 Topknot 3:39     ‘The band’s now-classic 2004 single Topknot,” Spin magazine.  A massive track for urban stations, turban stations, clubs as well as Indian weddings.  So big that M.I.A. asked to drop a rap on it.

3 The 911 Curry 3:33     The A-team meet up for an afternoon meal – a plan comes together, until Murdock has to flirt with the waitress.

4 Natch 2:34     The other part of the double ‘A’ sided Topknot single, and often even more loved by the DJ for its simplicity and French legion immediacy.

5 Double Decker Eyelashes 4:13     Already being used by select USA bass clubs to get the party started, keep the party going, and ending the party.  Being laidback & having the space is leading dancefloorers to improvise, and they take great joy in having the ability and scope to do it once more.

6 The Biro Pen 4:28      A sharp pen in its day was prime currency, guaranteed to get you out of any tight spot.  This lament lays it down heavy, even with its drum solo reprieve.

7 Supercomputed 3:44 Kraftwerk meet Irene Cara in a dune buggie.

8 Once There Was A Wintertime 3:14      Capturing the snow drenched wintry season with human warmth and northern brass.

9 Double Digit 3:38     Military again, until its slow build boils over with bass funk, as if the Brontë sisters came from an Indian cowshed.  This is maybe why Tjinder thinks Punjabi Folk Music was the first form of hip-hop, and has written a White Paper report on it.

10 Don’t Shake It 5:42      Don’t play this one too loud, it will stay in your head for a week, and then move in with you after another week.  All is well that ends well.  So well that it has extended beats, ending an album that intends to live forever – fame.

To Pre-order please go via our PledgeMusic page here

or you could send us a Paypal payment direct to: £8

for a download, £12 for signed CD including postage
Please state if you would prefer them signed by at least one member

of the band.

Cornershop & The Double 'O' Groove Of ft Bubbley Kaur Cover

‘TOPKNOT’ VIDEO directed by Prashant Bhargava

‘UNITED PROVINCES OF INDIA’ VIDEO directed by Chris Hemming

For further information please call

+44 7989 566 949 or email

Zombies, The Year Of The Infection – Cornershop Mix of Rodeo Massacre

Rodeo Massacre are a French Swedish band that have lost no time in building their world up, since residing in the Capital City of London.  They even have their own London night club Clap or Die in Camden.

Cornershop have always promoted Rodeo Massacre, from the first time that Tjinder saw them at Lucky 7 Record Shop

This was the first time he met Izzy, their lead singer, and since they live in the same quartier they have met regularly, and got to know each other more.  Pop fact pickers Izzy has even babysat Mr Singh’s two children.

Well now, all this has culminated into “Zombies, The Year Of The Infection” a Cornershop mix of Rodeo Massacre’sZombies Of Life” from their forthcoming album on Smoky Carrot Records.  People and Zombies are digging it – listen to the preview below, see what you think:

Zombies, The Year Of The Infection - Cornershop Mix of Rodeo Massacre

To Download this track, full length and for free, please click on the Down arrow on the right of this player below.

Rodeo Massacre – Zombies of Life (Cornershop Remix)

Ample Play &