The Exploding Hearts' debut album Guitar Romantic came out in early 2003. I was in love. I was listening almost exclusively to The Jam, Buzzcocks, early Elvis Costello, and The Only Ones at the time, and was blown away by this band of early twenty-somethings who had absolutely nailed the excitement and catchiness of that late '70s punk/power-pop sound.
Three months later, the rest of the world knew about the Exploding Hearts, but mostly through the most horrible possible circumstance. Reportedly on the way home to Portland from a showcase performance for Lookout Records, their van flipped near Eugene, Oregon. Three of the four Exploding Hearts died.
Great career move, though. The CD, which had been collecting dust for three months as my "employee pick" at Treehouse, became impossible to keep in stock. The vinyl was originally released only on a German label called Screaming Apple Records. I was so obsessed with the album that I purchased the only copy I could find on Gemm.com for about $35, before the accident. After the tragedy, I saw copies going on ebay for $300 each. I never sold mine, and it has now been reissued on vinyl domestically. One of those domestic reissues came in used to the store on Wednesday, prompting me to throw it on the turntable. I probably had not listened to the album for about a year. Still great.