i remember the phone call like it was yesterday. a friend of mine called me back in 2003 and said, “dude, you’ve gotta check out this band the exploding hearts. you’re going to love them. they’re right up your alley.” he described them as sounding like the clash. i f**king love the clash, so i drove to tower records during my lunch break and bought guitar romantic. he wasn’t wrong. i love everything about this album: the cover art, the attitude, the melodies, the jangling guitars. it was the record i’d been waiting for since i first discovered punk rock in 8th grade. the best part was that at this point in time they were my little secret. the internet was in its infancy stages as far as discovering new music was concerned i.e. i still relied on word of mouth for new bands in the early 2000s. i was going to spend the next several weeks telling everybody about the exploding hearts, but 3 months later their budding career came to an end when their bus ran off the road, flipped over and killed 3 out of 4 members of the band. that was the end of the exploding hearts. i go back to guitar romantic every couple of months. it’s a short record – 10 songs that average about 2.5 minutes each. you can listen to it over and over and hear things you missed on the last listen. it’s a classic and one you should have in your library.