Portland punk-popsters gone but not forgotten
As the ghosts of James Dean or Richey James could tell you, nothing flashes as brightly as the untimely passing of a young star-in-the-making. Portland, Ore.’s Exploding Hearts began the decade as one of the bustling scene’s most promising bands, releasing the instantly classic Guitar Romantic and kicking up considerable buzz among internet intelligentsia. In July 2003, the Hearts’ star was snuffed out in a single tragic moment when their tour van flipped over on the way back from a San Francisco gig (ironically, one of only two the group ever played outside of Portland), killing singer Adam Cox, bassist Matt Fitzgerald and drummer Jeremy Gage. Shattered collects the group’s remaining material, compiling a handful of singles, alternate mixes and unreleased tracks in one simple, inexpensive package. It also includes a wildly energetic five-song snippet from the band’s final performance at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill, leaving us all to wonder just how far they could’ve taken their Clash-indebted Rose City Rockers routine had fate not intervened so decisively.