It's too bad Simple Kid's American tour, which kicked off with a show on Tuesday, May 25, at Chop Suey, began at least three weeks before their album comes out in the States. Even though the show was a buck, there were only a handful of people in the audience--but everyone there was blown away by the soon to be extremely popular band. The UK group kicked off their truncated set (more on that in a sec) with their nearly released CD's first track--my favorite--"Hello," the one that whenever I've played the album for friends makes them say wow. I was hoping it would be the first single (that or "The Average Man"), but the less complicated, less attention-grabbing "Staring at the Sun" gets that honor, a track that sounds more like a really great Beck tune than anything else. The set, which was studded with singer Ciaran McFeely's genuinely funny remarks, was cut short because radio interference (from nearby radio towers) was coming through the keyboard amp. The singer thought it was just a comical annoyance, and instead of throwing a fit turned the keyboard amp up even louder so everyone could listen to what sounded like a news show. Afterward, a few of us brought McFeely and his two band members (one being his older brother, and the other, he said, one of many revolving musicians he brings on the road) to a mellow Kincora where they consumed two pitchers in record time (Irishmen raised in Cork) while listening to bartender/DJ A.J. spin his beloved classic rock. The Simple Kid crew were sweet guys, who, when I taught them new American slang by explaining that they needed to "flip a bitch" on Pine St., began to sing "Flip a Bitch, Bright Eyes," and provided a now unforgettable new line to Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Anyway, to get an early sample of the album before it comes out on June 15, go to, where you can get MP3s and watch a few videos, too.

And I can't end this column without giving some hearty praise to Hint Hint's CD release show at Neumo's on Wednesday, May 26. Their new, much more melodic sound combined perfectly with a sense of genuine familiarity and onstage ease, augmented by the collage film playing behind Jason Lajuenesse as he proved once again that he is an awesome drummer. The packed show was one of the best performances I've seen by a local band in quite a while, and watching singer Peter Quirk dance with winsome beauty between verses was nothing short of cool. If you haven't yet had the chance to buy a copy of Young Days, out on Suicide Squeeze, run to the record store and buy one now. Hint Hint were good before, but they've matured into a new sound that everyone should find appealing. Great show, guys.