The mighty Cornershop have had a long and strange career since their early days in Preston and John Robb produced debut. There was the wonderful Brimful of Asha number one, occasional quirky albums and semi lost slices of pop and wonk brilliance and then flashes of rediscovery – one of which happened this week when potential US Vice President Tim Kaine named Cornshop as one of his top five favorites in a Rolling Stone piece.
‘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 Tjinde [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 Hindi. They’ve done some great covers, but their original is always something surprising, always something you haven’t heard before.’