Well guys, we're keeping with a fast paced schedule on the SMS now that my computer's back from Staples, and now, finally, we can talk about our 4th anniversary surprises in detail! I was hoping to (obviously) do all of this on Monday, July 4th, which is the day we started the SMS in 2007, but hey, things happen and believe me, I was pissed at the inconvenience of it all. Now that we're back in working order though, I can properly unveil and detail the surprises and announcements in a way that Facebook statuses cannot! So let's kick this off with the biggest news of all for the anniversary!
The first news is that we are now selling official Sault Metal Scene t-shirts! This was an idea that I've been deliberating on for some time now (you may have seen the occasional hint or reference to it on our Facebook page), but for the fourth anniversary, I finally decided to pull the trigger! Hopefully I can answer any lingering questions you guys have on the shirts, so hopefully this post will cover them. The shirts are black with our logo in red on the chest, with nothing on the back (Keep it simple unless demand grows.) They are nice quality Gildan's 100% cotton t-shirts, and they come in sizes S-XL. The shirts will be printed on a order-by-order basis by AudioLife through Reverbnation, where we already have a "band page" set up, and as such, we now have a "Sault Metal Store" activated there for you guys to buy the shirts from! A link is also now on the SMS page itself on the bottom left, and our Facebook page has a "Store" tab to allow you to buy shirts through there too. I opted for Reverbnation due to it's ease and integration with our existing pages, and because it doesn't cost me a dime to make merchandise to sell! I handle the designing, and AudioLife/Reverbnation make the shirts from recieved orders and send them out. I had a great offer from RedD Monkey's Steve Mozarowski to make up shirts with him, but I thought that this would be simplest in terms of cost, space, and online access. Still, "some metalhead" recommends you bands give him a shout, his work is great!
The shirts cost $12.97 (tax included), which is the absolute lowest I can make them for this style without sacrificing quality. The shipping cost to Sault Ontario is $8.49, but shipping to Sault Michigan is only $6.39, so if you live over there or use Weir's Furniture Store, make note of the $2.10 savings! I could have raised the base price & earned the difference, but I don't want to take your money. I'm not making a penny through this, I just want you guys to spread the word and support the SMS if you wanna by rocking a shirt! At present, you can only buy shirts with major credit cards, though if you give me the total shirt/shipping cost in person, I could order you one and have it sent to your address. When I ordered my SMS shirt, it took 4 weeks to ship, though keep in mind that the postal strike happened in the interim, so it will likely come earlier than that with your orders, especially if you're shipping to Michigan. At present, Reverbnation does not offer PayPal as a payment method, nor do they offer shirts in kids sizes or in sizes above XL, but if those become available, I will absolutely let you guys know! And for the record, I have NO shirts stocked at home, this is by online demand only. At least at present, if you want an SMS t-shirt, you'll have to order it, but trust me, it's worth the order!
My shirt is nice quality, it's well screenprinted and it's durable, so as long as you take care of it and follow the washing instructions, it will last! Of course, I don't control the quality of how AudioLife makes the shirts, so click here for details on exchange or refund info if it came to that, though hopefully it won't. If these shirts sell well (time will decide that), I'll consider expanding the store to include other shirt colours, designs, and types, and maybe even hats, mugs, and bags. That all depends on if SMS shirts sell well, and if you'll honestly buy them, so click here if you're interested, and check the above information for more! You follow us, why not wear us and show your support?
Second for the fourth anniversary surprises is, obviously, the new design of the SMS page itself. With Blogger's new updated template designing tools and the general aging and busy look of our old layout, I thought it was time to freshen up the look, while keeping it looking similar to before. I won't burden you guys with every change, but here's the major ones. The sidebars with the links, listings, polls, and so forth are now transparent black, which is a cool effect, and gives a seamless flow to the screen area. The banner is now taller to increase the customization possibilities (and make our logo more prominent), while many of the "border lines" are gone from surrounding text and photos, giving everything a cleaner look. Visited links are now blue & links now only highlight in purple, as I felt blue fit better given our Sault Michigan coverage. Link colours also now apply to sidebars too. I freshened up our band links by splitting the Twin Saults' respective band lists in half: One each for active bands, one each for inactive bands (i.e. defunct bands or ones that have not been visibly active in the previous year.) This way, you guys can get a better gauge of who's currently active in the local music scenes on both sides of the border without clutter from defunct & inactive bands, who are grouped separetely below the active ones (though if I made a mistake in my categorizing, let me know!)
Also, each post now features buttons at the bottom to share individual posts on external websites like Facebook & Twitter. I've removed the out of town concert listings too because, in all fairness, our local fanbase isn't within easy driving distance for most of the shows, though we'll still mention them! And finally for notable changes, we now have an official mobile version of the SMS page formatted for smartphones, iPod Touches, and so forth! It's not really custom to our layout yet, but I like the formatting for it's ease of reading, though you can switch to a desktop view if you want as well. I hope the changes don't throw you guys off, cause I tried to maintain our old look while bringing it forward in design and style. There's more tweaking to be done though, so I will let you guys know when I change or add anything new!
Third for the anniversary surprises is a new monthly feature series! I debated between Twitter and the site we chose for this one, but in the end, we picked the more active and varied of the two on a local metal basis, so our new monthly series is the YouTube Channel Profile Series! There's tons of people, bands, and groups on YouTube that have videos of a local metal interest, from live concert videos to original songs to jam session clips, there's plenty there! On the SMS, we tend to mostly feature new videos, videos from bands playing from concert previews, and so forth. There's a lot of older & unexplored channels & videos that deserve your attention, so starting on July 22nd, we will profile three YouTube channels with either a 50% level (or higher) of local metal-based videos, or a high number of videos in general of a local metal interest. We'l tell you who runs the channel, what to see there, what the overall quality is like, what videos are worth watching, and so on, cause there's a lot of hidden gems! I haven't decided a method to pick the channels yet though, though there will definitely be a form of random selection, and for the record, the SMS channel will NOT be featured. I talk about it enough as it is! So watch out for this new series on July 22nd, and from the 19th-25th of each succeeding month!
And finally for surprises, The Sault Metal Scene is now on yet another music site! We have accounts on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, and Reverbnation, but now, we've made the jump to PureVolume! I've been using PureVolume for occasional band sourcing and material for years, and though it's nowhere near as popular locally as other music sites, I thought we should continue our reach by joining PureVolume, which has a nice interface to promote band material and information! Active bands like Frightlight, Tym Morrison, and Sykotyk Rampage all have a presence on PureVolume, while notable defunct bands like Inside Spiral, Infrastrate, and D.O.T.H. all have utilized PureVolume in the past, and in some cases, the only page I have access to for a given band is through here, like with Bad Habbit. It's a nice little site and has a ton of solid bands from all over the world, so definitely consider using it if your band wants to extend themselves further! Our official PureVolume page is kinda bare at present, but definitely visit and make note of it to check our over a dozen local hard rock acts (including a new discovery we're profiling this week), and become a fan or friend today! Stay tuned for more updates from the SMS & PureVolume!
That's all for now, but I do want to thank you guys sincerely from the bottom of my heart for all of the incredible support & readership that I and The Sault Metal Scene have been offered over the last four years (and two days.) Whether you read every day or see me as just "some metalhead", I appreciate everything you guys have done and said to help this site prosper beyond my wildest expectations that I had in July 2007. I hope you guys will follow along over the next year as we hopefully make our biggest strides yet in the local scene, as I really hope we can get even bigger going into 2012. Seeing 1,000 Facebook fans would be awesome, but you never know what will be up next! Thank you all for everything, we wouldn't be where we are now without you guys! Stay tuned later today as we continue to get back on track from the weekend delays, as we review Monday night's Titan's Eve concert! Thanks everyone!