Cornershop: Remember them? They're jamming anyway...

Behind every “one hit wonder” is a story.

Sometimes it’s a long, rewarding struggle — sometimes it’s instant fame followed by a sophomore cliff-dive — but sometimes those bands aren’t one-hit-wonders at all because they’ve been there in the background of your life for years.

I still pull out Cornershop’s 1997 album When I Was Born for the 7th Time. Its sunny pop and strange Indian-dance grooves mellow me out and make any long drive happier. And who can forget Fatboy Slim’s remix of “Brimful of Asha”? That song scored us like a soundtrack in college during the early-2000’s (imagine a Swingers-style slow-walk, only that song is playing and the setting is a disc golf course). [ Here’s the original song/vid. Here’s the Fatboy remix. Hell.. Here’s it live, as well, cause that’s just cool. ]

“Brimful of Asha” was the Kerry Wood of alt-pop-rock songs: by being so huge so soon, it set unrealistic expectations for Tjinder Singh and the guys. But, damn… Remember when it was so good… ? Damn.

But Cornershop has been recording and putting out albums ever since. Even to acclaim in some circles (mostly across the pond). You may vaguely recall this LeBron (BACK, DEMON!) Nike commercial that they scored with the bright, bass-bumping tune “Candyman.”

This year (5/15/12) they’re dropping an album called Urban Turban.

The online U.K. music mag The Line of Best Fit is praising and premiering a pretty cool video for the song “Who’s Gonna Light Up?” (featuring Swedish singer Izzy Lindqwister) here. But after listening to the entire album, I think the standout track is the totally jammable groove “Concrete, Concrete” (see first video below). The latter track reminds me of a lost (*sigh*) Beastie Boys funk jam off Check Your Head.

A lot of the tracks on the new album are hip-hop infused, groovable jams sung by guest artists (Cornershop’s Santana comeback?). It still won’t be as huge as.. well, you know, but it’s dig-able party music.

What I’ve always loved about this band’s sound is the Brit-based Singh’s confident incorporation of tablas, sitars and other cultural reference points of his Indian heritage into a host of other sounds (in college we all wondered where we could score a “brimful of Asha” on a Saturday night). Such an endeavor seems like it might get confused or sound forced, but Singh fuses East/West and more like a boss. 

Per example: 2002’s Handcream for A Generation featured Noel Gallagher on guitar for this epic 14-minute jam: “Spectral Mornings.”

On top of that, it’s never heavy — Cornershop is always relaxing, cool, sunny, bouncy, trippy, weird and a bunch of other adjectives that make me smile.

He has created a vibrant identity that still sounds great, and will probably remain fun for everybody as long as he keeps jamming (he’s been doing it since 1991).

For good measure, here’s another favorite of mine (for a while I swore this song was bringing me good fortune every time I played it in my car… Until the stereo broke) — the first track off that 1997 classic When I Was Born for the 7th Time, “Sleep on the Left Side”….  Singh sings, “Sometimes some burdens can release…,” and I feel that when I listen to this track…


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