A decade ago last week, Portland's Exploding Hearts released Guitar Romantic, a near-perfect power-pop album now considered among the classics of the genre. Although the group's career ended tragically less than four months later, the great, brief burst of music it left behind remains a vital influence on an entire generation of bands. To commemorate the album's 10-year anniversary, Willamette Week partnered with Generator andPabst Blue Ribbon and asked six Portland artists to cover the record in full. Over the next week, we will be premiering exclusive videos of those bands performing all 10 songs from Guitar Romantic at Southeast Portland's Green Noise Records, home to Dirtnap Records, the label that released the album in America.
Brownish Black, "I'm a Pretender"
"The good thing about never hearing the Exploding Hearts before is that my first listen a few weeks ago was with fresh, new ears. Upon that first listen, I would have believed that the Exploding Hearts are a currently gigging band. What they were able to capture is that timeless sound you can find in any genre of music. That is, if you're ears are smart. Upon my first listen of my first song, 'I'm a Pretender,' I heard doo-wop, and I knew that Brownish Black could do it a service by simply exploiting that one element. It's noticeable in most of their songs. For that, I've got to give them respect for taking punk down a different road and being interesting. I'm happy to be a new fan of theirs."—MD Sharbatz of Brownish Black