Punkish Portland, OR, power pop quartet the Exploding Hearts had been playing together for over two years before their debut recording, Guitar Romantic, was released by Seattle-based indie Dirtnap Records in spring of 2003. Taking influence from bands like the Clash, the Undertones, and the Only Ones, the group comprised bassist Matt "Lock" Fitzgerald, drummer Jeremy "Kid Killer" Gage, vocalist/guitarist Adam "Baby" Cox, and guitarist Terry Six; early on, the band also included keyboardist "King" Louie Bankston and original bassist Jim Evans, but they both left prior to Guitar Romantic's release. The album won the guys (all in their early twenties) a well-deserved buzz among music fans, scribes, and labels, and the band was in high demand on the West Coast touring circuit. Tragically, though, just as the group was gearing up for a nationwide tour and rumored to be signing with Lookout! Records, their van veered out of control while returning home on July 20, 2003, from a San Francisco concert, killing Gage, Cox, and Fitzgerald. Six managed to escape with only minor injuries. Dirtnap released the LP Shattered in the fall of 2006, compiling singles from the band's much-too-brief career, including alternative versions and mixes, as well as their unreleased final recordings; the album also featured five songs of live footage from (what became) the Exploding Hearts' final show at San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill.