Everything All Of The Time: Kid A Revisited

Rick Simpson brings new life to Radiohead classics at The Jazz Cafe.

Though it’s only a stone’s throw from Camden Town tube station, my dash to The Jazz Cafe on the night of Sunday, 20th February was a wet one. 

Outside the venue, the latest in a volley of storms was raging through London’s streets. Inside, meanwhile, a drenched crowd was eagerly awaiting pianist and composer Rick Simpson, who was set to perform Everything All Of The Time: Kid A Revisited, his ode to the seminal Radiohead album. 

A madly brilliant, sprawling recontextualisation of Kid A presented by way of jazz quintet, the project sees Simpson taking a scalpel to each track and extracting its core DNA for use as a basis in his crazed experiments. Each minute detail has been immaculately captured in a recording, and whilst I wholeheartedly advise you to grab a copy, I feel that there’s no better way to first absorb this monumental tribute than to see it play out on stage as I did.

Four unmistakable notes rang out from the piano as the show began. Moments later, what started so recognisably as iconic opener “Everything In Its Right Placewas deconstructed and rebuilt in a matter of seconds, suddenly veering off in a whirlwind of modulations. There were clear allusions to the original music – chords bled through the chaos, and the sax and bass clarinet frontline (the astounding Tori Freestone and Julian Siegel) gave triumphant nods to the vocals – and yet this was a different beast altogether. To hear a song so synonymous with reinvention set ablaze and born again from the ashes was a delight, and felt at once natural and a shock to the system. 

Left turns like this were rife throughout the set, which ran in tracklist order. An interpretation of the record’s title track initially retained its icy mood, before launching into a more urgent state, focusing in on the grooving drums and bass that lurk just beneath its glacial electronics. Other songs received the reverse treatment; one of the more erratic, bizarre cuts, “In Limbo,” mutated into a meditative number, teetering between eerie calm and cool-cat jazz. A contemplative bass solo from Dave Whitford gradually melted into downtempo arpeggios, while Freestone’s sparse playing guided the audience towards a rousing climax. Simpson had chosen the perfect group to carry his vision to fruition, something evident both in skittering, anthemic renditions of “The National Anthem” and “Optimistic,” and in quieter moments. Ambient outlier “Treefingers” was reframed as something of a piano and drum duet, the execution of which was only made more impressive by the reveal that drummer Jon Scott had only joined the ensemble the night before.

Dramatic changes in structure and style made recognisable moments even more effective. In the case of “Idioteque,” they swerved away from familiar content up until a colossal drop that justified the turbulent jam preceding it and provided a powerful catharsis. “Motion Picture Soundtrack” and “How To Disappear Completely,” on the other hand, more closely resembled their source material and offered serene diversions amidst the frenzied reworks.

Rick Simpson

After the main event, we were fortunate enough to get a second set of bonus helpings from Simpson’s Radiohead catalogue. This was no less engaging than the first, featuring the danceable “Fifteen Step” and a performance of Amnesiac’s gloomy sister to Kid A’s “Morning Bell.” His take on the latter brought out the tortured beauty in one of the band’s most left-field works, reviving a track that is commonly misunderstood and putting it to rest peacefully. Other highlights included an improvised medley of “No Surprises,” “Reckoner” and Thom Yorke solo outing “The Eraser” – which Simpson was quick to dismiss as ‘pretty shit’ (it was not) – as well as a cinematic rendition of “Nude,” repurposed as a closing credits theme of sorts.

As someone who was too young to fathom Kid A in its heyday, going in blind to this show was the closest thing to an authentic experience I could dream of. I may never hear the original album in the same light as fans did on its release, but I imagine what they felt must have been close to my feelings at this show: A great deal of bewilderment as the music you know contorts into unfamiliar shapes before you, and ultimately a sense of awe at its newfound form. For those looking to replicate that thrill, I can’t recommend one of these gigs enough. 

If you’re looking to hear something different and support Rick Simpson’s outstanding work, be sure to head on down to his next gig or purchase Everything All Of The Time via his Bandcamp. It’s available in both digital and physical formats, and is worth every penny.

In addition to marking my first listen, the show was also my first time at The Jazz Cafe, and I was fascinated by its blended appearance. Downstairs, where I was standing, was the sizeable stage, as well as two bars, the expected fixtures of a venue this size. Upstairs, listeners sat at tables bathed in orange light in a decidedly more ‘jazz’ affair. With its timeless look and excellent sound, it proved an apt, intimate venue for this stellar performance.

Listen to Everything All Of The Time: Kid A Revisited on BandCamp

Creators Monthly Indie/Indie Rock New Wave Punk/Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Pons

Pons. From left: Jack Parker (drums), Sebastian Carnot (drums), Sam Cameron (vocals/guitar). Photo courtesy of IDIOTEQ

I’ll start off this article with two words: two drummers. I’ll add another two for good measure: no bassist. That’s right, Pons is a three-piece band featuring a guitar, vocals, drums, and more drums. They’re truly a sight and sound to behold.

Pons formed in North Carolina in 2018 shortly after the two founding members graduated high school. The two members in question are Sam Cameron, who sings and plays guitar, and Jack Parker on drums. Shortly after, the duo released their debut EP, titled They Look Like People. The EP features five loud, noisy, raw tracks that only hint at the power Pons was yet to harness. 

The start of Pons: Jack and Sam circa 2018. Photo courtesy of Pons’ Instagram

At first, progress was slow for Pons due to Jack attending college at the University of Vermont, where he became part of the short-lived but very popular emo band Boys Cruise. However, behind the scenes, the duo was still keeping the flame of Pons alive. After releasing a few more songs and embarking on a mini-tour in early 2019, the floodgates opened. That summer, Pons released Dread, their second EP. With this EP, they went on their longest tour yet, traveling from North Carolina all the way to Canada and back. This ambitious outing showcased the incredible work ethic that powered the band, and it was only the beginning.

As fall came around, Pons continued to build on the momentum of the previous summer. Sam moved up to Vermont in order to continue working on new material and play shows in the area. They also expanded, introducing auxiliary percussionist Sebastian Carnot, also known as DIE the Monk, at a show in September. While based in Vermont, the trio built up a reputation for pulling out all the stops live. One of their most popular antics was ditching their instruments and shouting lyrics discordantly over a pre-recorded backing track, wading out into the audience and dancing maniacally as they did so. The addition of a second drummer also meant that their shows became even noisier.

After releasing their debut album Intellect in 2020, Pons once again made a drastic move: they relocated to New York. Despite the high saturation of strange and unusual bands in NYC, Pons immediately stood out due to their raw power and noise. They began playing shows all over the country, darting from one state to another on a whim. Oftentimes, they would pay visits to Vermont, where they were still heroes of the underground. This included playing a show at Higher Ground with Vundabar.

Fast forward to today, and Pons are often cited as people’s favorite band to see live. Their commitment to their sound, style, and persona has also helped them stand out in a world where weirdness is often watered down and turned into a commodity. Their fierce work ethic also makes them stand out as a beacon for other underground bands that are looking to make a name for themselves on the road. Even if Pons’ music isn’t your cup of tea, their determination and passion will have you keeping your eyes on them.

The band’s latest single, “Leave Me To My Work,” is out now on all streaming platforms.

Why We Love

Why We Love: Rosy Mackinnon

Rosy Mackinnon has been writing songs since the tender age of 12. She joined her first band at 15 and by 16 had begun commandeering her dad’s computer to record her original tracks (she figured out how to mix them, using Logic, on her own). Her debut single, “Getting Home,” was released in December of 2021; her second release, “Kill Me Sarah,” is out today.

“Getting Home” and “Kill Me Sarah” are both misty, enveloping tunes; the sort of music that imparts a sense of tender nostalgia to anything it might end up sound-tracking. Add delicate instrumentation and a sense of self and humor that’s rare to find in any artist, especially in one so young, and you have a recipe for rapidly rising talent. Rosy Mackinnon’s one to watch.

Rosy Mackinnon performing at an event in Manchester.

She lists Jockstrap, Adrienne Lenker and Leonard Cohen among her recent musical influences—before the first lockdown she was heavily inspired by Weyes Blood and the Velvet Underground, but her tastes have since shifted somewhat. Most listeners consider her work to fall under the ambient or experimental indie genres, and Rosy agrees: “I think I make songs that people could listen to after a long day or a night out… I’m under the indie bracket somewhere.”

She says that “Kill Me Sarah” was “… loosely based on a conversation I had with a friend. They wanted me to pretend to be someone else and I thought it could be an interesting narrative for a song. In the lyrics I made it more about an unhealthy relationship, not being enough for a person, even though they want more you put up with it for a time. I made the narrator murder their love interest at the end which I didn’t intend until I wrote the very last verse. I don’t think I fully realized until I read through it all again and I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ I called it “Kill Me Sarah” as a joke at first… it’s a Radiohead reference.”

“Kill Me Sarah,” is out today on Bandcamp and Spotify. You can follow Rosy Mackinnon on Instagram @rosymackinnon, on Spotify and on Bandcamp.


Bishopskin: Lean Closer

As befits an unusual band, Bishopskin’s new release, “Lean Closer,” had an unusual beginning. After failing his driving test for the seventh time, lead singer Tiger Nicholson sat down in the grass alongside a busy road and watched the cars rush by until the sun set, half-singing and half-shouting what would become the song’s refrain over the roar of the traffic. “I then recorded a version of it on the top deck of the bus and sent it to James, who made this broken man’s worship into the song we have now,” Nicholson said.

The finished product is a tender little hymn, to which Nicholson’s warm, throaty, golden tones are well-suited. Its country-folk lilt led the band to label the track as less “primal,” than their recent single, “I Was Born on an Island,” but the injection of another genre ultimately serves to showcase the band’s impressive range.

The track features contributions from Seth Evans (Black Midi) Duc Peterman (HMLTD) and Alex White (Fat White Family and beyond—c’mon, the guy’s in so many bands, trying to keep track of them all is like trying to keep tabs on Warren Beatty at an Oscars afterparty, circa 1973).   

“Lean Closer,” is out today on Isolar Records. You can purchase the single at the link below. You can follow the further adventures of Bishopskin on Instagram @bishopskin and @isolar_records


Caroline: The next multi-instrumental legends

Caroline are one of the most recent signings to emerge from Rough Trade Reacords, and one that should deffo be on your radar.


The Apocalyptic Indie Romance of Black Books

The Apocalyptic Indie Romance of Black Books, Austin, TX-based indie rockers Black Books have been teasing new material as of late.  The prospect of a new album has made me delve back into the band’s rich archives, which contain some of the most prescient, melodic tracks this side of the 20th century. Think Townes Van Zandt meets Pink Floyd…but in a bar off South Congress. The band’s 2020 single, “Goodbye Cool,” was released alongside a video that seemed to foretell the entire scope of the pandemic a month before it arrived. If the band’s past work can tell us anything about their upcoming release, it’s that it will be jam-packed with the kind of songs you want to listen to again and again, in every imaginable setting…


Audiobooks: Synths Like You’ve Never Heard Before

Art student Evangeline Ling and Producer David Wrench are the brilliant duo behind the otherworldly synth-pop band, Audiobooks. Brilliantly thought out alien landscapes crafted by Wrench meet the worldly lyrics of Evangeline Ling. Throw in a touch of Wednesday Addams and a hint of Saruman the Wise and there you have it, a phenomenal band.


Johnny Marr Releases New Album

Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has released his new album ‘Fever Dreams
Pts 1 – 4′, a 16 track LP filled with all the genius of his hit-making
Creators Monthly Indie/Indie Rock Pop/Indie Pop Punk/Rock Reviews Why We Love

Why We Love: Glasvegas

Glasvegas circa 2011. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I’ll never forget when I began listening to Scottish band Glasvegas. In seventh grade, I started branching out from the music I heard in the car or on the radio and almost accidentally started listening to them. My dad had received their 2008 self-titled debut album from my uncle, and because of that, I began listening to it. I immediately fell in love with the atmospheric, dense sonic world that Glasvegas created on the album. Songs such as “Geraldine,” “Go Square Go,” “Daddy’s Gone,” and “It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry” tackled emotional themes while enveloping the listener in swirling guitars, rumbling bass, and simplistic yet effective drums. Although singer James Allen’s vocals were obscured by such a thick Scottish accent that I often had to look up the lyrics to understand what was being said, I still adored the album and still do to this day.

It turns out that I was not alone in my love for the album. After its release, it ended up going platinum, a big feat for an indie rock band. The band had actually formed years earlier in 2003, slowly working and building a fanbase over the years through constant touring, free demos, and a music video for the demo of “Daddy’s Gone.” This slow build in recognition meant that the album was a deserved smash hit, and Glasvegas enjoyed the benefits their self-titled album reaped.

In the years that followed, the band released two more albums: EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\ in 2011, and Later…When The TV Turns to Static in 2013. Sadly, these albums did not perform as well critically or commercially as the debut album. Following the release of Static, the band’s output dried up with the exception of a small tour in 2014 to support the album. As the years went on and the band continued to remain silent, it seemed as though they had broken up. Allen’s struggles with drug use also painted the future of the band in a bleak light.

However, the band suddenly reemerged in 2018 to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the debut album. They went on tour and re-released the album with a gold cover. They also released demos of the debut album to all streaming platforms. Then, three years later, the unexpected occurred: Glasvegas released their fourth album. Titled Godspeed, the album contains eleven tracks, two of which serve as interludes. Each of these tracks creates a world that not only harkens back to the debut album but also expands on it. The track “Stay Lit,” despite the title, is actually an acoustic guitar-driven track that has a morose, haunted feel to it. “In My Mirror,” one of the standout tracks on the album, pulses with a sense of urgency and contains some of Allen’s most impassioned vocals to date. “Dying to Live” runs in a similar vein, with Allen practically spitting out the lyrics in desperation over a tense instrumental. The tracks “Keep Me A Space” and “My Life Is A Glasshouse (A Thousand Stones Ago)” echo the first album with their sweeping textures and grand soundscapes.

It is nothing short of staggering that Glasvegas were able to make such a quality album after eight years. However, it is also not outside of the band to pull something like this off. After all, this is the same band that existed for five years before their debut album, slowly honing their sound and polishing their craft. Clearly, work ethic is a major part of Glasvegas’s ethos, which is something that must be admired. Many other bands would have folded under lesser circumstances, but with Godspeed, Glasvegas proves that they are made of tougher stuff.

Glasvegas’ new album Godspeed. Photo courtesy of XS Noise