2003 seems so close to now when listening to The Exploding Hearts. Out of the tragedy of all but one member dying in a van crash on their way back home, it’s the most bitter-sweet aural post card possible: the release, for the first time on vinyl in one place, of all their singles (some of which hit around $500 a piece on Ebay, days after the crash, you savages), unreleased final recordings, and alternate mixes. (The CD version of this came out last year, but my heart’s in vinyl.) Ever see people with their heads down, crying, but with a slight smile? That’s my initial response to Shattered. It’s some of the best modernizations of power pop and punk—from The Jam and Elvis Costello—to modern Northwest punk—from The Briefs, Tranzmitors, and Epoxies—all played with such confidence and swagger that the songs themselves sound like monuments. And then comes the sobering fact that The Exploding Hearts will never release anything ever again. But least there’s a last testament… and it’s great. The final irony’s doubly thick because they died right near the middle-of-nowhere, on-the-way-to-somewhere-better small town I was born in.