Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Bright and sunny Brit rock / Indian / modern dance hybrid from Cornershop

Good people, now. Good shit. I'm on fire.

Do you remember Cornershop? Cornershop was a project of brothers Tjinder and Avtar Singh that has had fair success in the UK but never got a ton of airplay in the US. They play a highly produced, poppy brand of indie rock that blends in a lot of Middle Eastern flavor in with loops and scratching. Their 1997 album, “When I Was Born for the Seventh Time,” spawned a couple songs you may have heard. ‘Brimful of Asha’ hit the radio for a minute, as I recall. That’s how I first heard about them. More recently, Nike picked up ‘Candyman’ for use in one of their LeBron James commercials.

Much of the rest of the album was great. Some of it is a little spotty, I suppose. Tracks like ‘What Is Happening?’ (simple tabla beat, squeaking synthesizers, and a recitation of grocery store prices) ‘When the Light Appears Boy’ (tribal drums and Allen Ginsberg reading a poem), and ‘State Troopers’ (mostly percussion and some kind of hooting whistle) wear on you after a while. However, every minute of it is interesting and the production is outstanding.

My iPod holds winners from this disc so I have all killer, no filler.

  • Sleep on the Left Side – This song makes me happy every time it comes on. It’s driven by the bass line and flute but the production is just bright and shiny and the melody is uplifting.
  • Brimful of Asha – Asha Bhosle was a popular singer from India’s Bollywood (she would sing many of the musical numbers while actresses lip synched). Fatboy Slim did a remix of this song that frankly bugs the crap out of me, particularly when you listen to how great this organic, happy groove is.
  • Funky Days Are Back Again – I like this song but I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t be for everyone. The sentiment is cool and the percussion (throughout the whole album, really) adds a lot of interest.
  • Good Shit – I have never heard this on the radio, it’s not on YouTube, and I can’t figure out why. What a great song. Fabulous groove. I chuckled when Target put it in one of their commercials, changing the lyrics to “Good Stuff.”
  • Candyman – This is another one that I was surprised wasn’t a big hit and I was glad Nike resurrected it for the LeBron chalk commercial. Jay Z and Kanye ruined this song not long ago. That and the instrumental version are all over YouTube, but the original already had cool vocals. People like to use this stuff as source material, but they’re not improving on it.

In addition to these, I like ‘Butter the Soul’ but that one annoyed my wife so much I had to remove it from my iPod because it made her crazy when it came on. ‘Chocolat’ is great, but it seems to be a minute and a half excerpt from some cool extended jam. I would like to hear the rest of it. I like ‘We’re in Yr Corner’  too, but would hesitate to recommend it. Finally, they cover The Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood’  but sing it in Hindi and add a little sitar. Meh.

I have also listened to two of their other releases, “Woman’s Gotta Have It” (1995) and “Handcream for a Generation” (2002) but neither one lived up to “When I Was Born…” In researching this post today, I saw that Cornershop released a new album in July called “Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast.” I haven’t gotten to listen to it yet, but I’m all excited.


January 6, 2010 - Posted by | Hip Hop, Indie, Popular, World Music


  1. I bought this album when it first came out and still play it. Like you, there are a couple of tracks that annoy me but, on the whole, it is a favourite.

    I can recommend ‘Handcream For A Generation’ but I haven’t heard ‘Woman’s Gotta Have it’.



    Comment by YourZ | January 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. I listened to both, but neither came close to “When I Was Born…” for me. I have “Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast” in my iTunes now, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it. I’ll either give it its own post if it’s great or mention it in this post if it’s not.

    Comment by missedmusic | January 9, 2010 | Reply

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