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Tragic Guitar Romantics
November 3, 2007 7:58 AM   Subscribe

The Exploding Hearts. The Exploding Hearts were a punk rock / power pop band from Portland, Oregon. The Hearts were generating enormous buzz: their debut album was getting over-the-top rave reviews and the band were regionally famous for their energetic live shows. Sadly, however, three of the band's four members died in a car accident in 2003 on their way home after a gig in San Francisco, thus putting a sudden tragic end to a very promising career. The band drew their influence from early British punk bands like The Undertones, Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Only Ones and Nick Lowe.

The Exploding Hearts led a revival of 1970s-era power pop and new wave in the Seattle and Portland area along with bands like The Briefs and the Epoxies on the ominously named, then-Seattle-based Dirtnap Records. They released only one album, Guitar Romantic, during their existence as a band, leaving behind an all-too-brief catalog:

Modern Kicks, I'm a Pretender, On the Boulevard
Busy Signals, Sleeping Aids & Razor Blades
posted by psmealey (20 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
http://www.myspace.com/theexplodinghearts
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:02 AM on November 3, 2007


Seattle Power Pop
posted by 3.2.3 at 9:00 AM on November 3, 2007


I hate that I slept on this album the year it came out, because it was easily the best thing and should have topped every list.
posted by klangklangston at 9:15 AM on November 3, 2007


I've never understood the appeal of this record. It's... boring. I've listened to it maybe 20 times and it leaves zero impression. I'm listening again right now... Usually when something gets raves I either find that I agree with them or believe the complete opposite but Guitar Romantic is so ... flat that I can't even work up any passion in my dislike for it. It's like 25 minutes of meh.
posted by dobbs at 9:37 AM on November 3, 2007


Dobbs, this review is for you. I loved it, still do. De gustibus etc.
posted by psmealey at 9:53 AM on November 3, 2007


I was just reading about Terry Six the lone surviver of The Exploding Hearts. He has a new band called The Nice Boys. Might be worth checking out.
posted by Sailormom at 9:56 AM on November 3, 2007


What dobbs wrote describes perfectly how I feel about Arcade Fire. Funny how music so moves some people and others not at all.
posted by psmealey at 10:00 AM on November 3, 2007


Haha. Seriously, Dobbs, do you hate fun?

I dunno. I listened to it once or twice and didn't get into it, then found it a couple of years later and really loved it. (Which reminds me that I've got to actually buy a copy, rather than skating on that old promo, even if it's only the one guy left who gets a dollar.)

But hey, I love Joe Jackson and Robert Palmer too, so I might just be in a different demographic.
posted by klangklangston at 10:01 AM on November 3, 2007


Sleeping aides and razorblades got me through soooo many breakups.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:18 AM on November 3, 2007


klang, this is really worth looking in to?

I had a good friend who loved these guys, but he also referred to them as "The Exploding Heart" after the accident, soo...
posted by hototogisu at 10:50 AM on November 3, 2007


i really liked them.
posted by snofoam at 11:04 AM on November 3, 2007


Sleeping aides and razor blades...

They were totally fun and awesome and the record fucking rocks. I remember the day I found out they had their car crash; by far the worst day of my summer 2003. 100 years from now, having died in tour bus crash will just be part of the legend, if anyone's still listening. But for now it sucks that we don't get any more rockin awesome retro nerd punk from these guys.
posted by polytropos at 12:09 PM on November 3, 2007


Wow, I didnt know that about The Nice Boys.

The Exploding Hearts bored the crap out of me and I doubt they'd be much to talk about without the circumstances of their exit...

BUT...

that Nice Boys' record is rad.

(pssst! that link sailormom put up has a link to the Nice Boys' full album on rapidshare)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:21 PM on November 3, 2007


I doubt they'd be much to talk about without the circumstances of their exit...

Enh. A non-trivial amount of buzz came before the tragedy, not after.

More generally: It's a nice record. Not revolutionary, not boring. The good bits are quite good... I was curious to see whether they'd try to evolve from the sound of their influences, or if they'd stick to miming them for another couple records.

I always kind of thought of them as what the first Clash album'd sound like if Mick Jones were the only singer/song-writer in the bunch.
posted by sparkletone at 4:24 PM on November 3, 2007


I've heard say that King Louie had a lot to do with tightening up their songs and making them what they are.
posted by bendybendy at 4:33 PM on November 3, 2007


I was stunned when I heard the news of the accident. It was just a few days after I got the record, and I already fallen in love with Guitar Romantic - I really had a crush on it. Apparently they played a great show at the Harvard Lampoon, of all places (1) (2). Wish I could have been there.
posted by chinston at 6:35 PM on November 3, 2007


I always kind of thought of them as what the first Clash album'd sound like if Mick Jones were the only singer/song-writer in the bunch.

To me the Clash were at their best on crossover stuff like "Guns of Brixton" and "Magnificent Seven". Their straight ahead stuff always left me a little bit cold.

OT, the first time I heard "Modern Kicks", I thought it was the best fucking Buzzcocks/Only Ones song I never heard. Actually, I still think that "Kicks" and "PDA" by Interpol are the two best rock songs of the aughties.
posted by psmealey at 8:07 PM on November 3, 2007


To me the Clash were at their best on crossover stuff like "Guns of Brixton" and "Magnificent Seven". Their straight ahead stuff always left me a little bit cold.

I wouldn't say The Clash's more straightfoward material leaves me cold at all. But I agree that their most remarkable/memorable/ground-breaking stuff was the other stuff.

But I don't hear Guns Of Brixton anywhere near the Exploding Hearts record. I hear a bit of Train In Vain though.
posted by sparkletone at 10:53 PM on November 3, 2007


bendybendy: i'm a big fan of king louie. he isn't much for updating his web page, but he's dusting off the one-man band and getting ready to hit the road for an abbreviated tour (memphis, cleveland, somewhere in indiana, alabama, and a few other places) in early december. he's also working on polishing up some tracks for a new black rose band album coming out in a few months. i saw brb about a week ago and he and julian, ex of the now defunct detonations, had some of the hottest jams i've heard for quite some time. definitely worth seeing live, imho.
posted by msconduct at 5:23 AM on November 4, 2007


I was pretty good friends with these guys before they were the Exploding Hearts. Their bands were always great, but never at this level. I was beyond stoked when I was asked to interview them... I'm about 9/10ths of the "MRR" in the second link.

It's still kind of tough for me to talk about them in any capacity, so I'll just end with

.
posted by sharkweek at 1:00 PM on November 5, 2007


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