Scene Point Blank is a music webzine founded in March 2003 by four individuals on the AFI messageboard. The site initially began with a focus on hardcore/punk but has since expanded in its seven-years-and-counting history to cover indie, metal, doom, hip-hop, pop, and more.
One of the site's early goals to set it apart from competitors was our "multiple author" reviewing concept. Several writers would tackle the same record and give individual scores which were then averaged out for the overall rating. This balanced effort at reviewing also carries over into the site's methods for forming "Best Of" lists at the end of the year - each staffer submits a list of their top records and this is compiled into an overall, democratically-selected site list - no editorialising.
While the site focuses on independent and heavy music, the staff has diverse interests that are reflected in the often genre-crossing coverage. Dedicated readers may notice inconsistent spelling between reviews. Writers use spelling native to their home countries, for example: without editorialising or editorializing.
SPB has relaunched a number of times and has had several editors, beginning with Shane Shirey, moving onto Michael Phillips, and now Loren Green. More information about past and present writers can be found on the 'Staff' page.
Below are some screenshots and demos of the earlier incarnations of the site since launch. See evolution unfold before your very eyes.
This layout marked Scene Point Blank's first venture into the online world! Marvel at how cute and naive we were back then, with a vast staff of 6. Back then, the site was updated manually by various staffers, and manually updated to reflect new reviews/news that were posted. Also, in true SPB tradition, we stole artwork to fill the layout out with.
This layout marked the introduction of the artwork that most older readers will know and love. It also introduced a measure of automation behind the scenes, meaning staff could login and update the site through their web browser. We still updated reviews by hand though - taxing work - which would be corrected very soon.
This layout was the first incarnation of a new SPB. For the first time, we made use of a pre-existing script, PostNuke, a popular portal script that allows automated running of the site. We loved the new abilities and easy usage this package gave us. There were a few problems, but overall, our control of almost every aspect of the site was improved.
This was a similar but slightly improved edition of #3 above. Essentially, we added panels of updated content so readers could see at-a-glance what was new on the site. Also, by popular demand, were album cover images again on the front page.
They say all wines mature, all violins grow sweeter in age, and all music websites reach an apex of beauty after several years of maturing. That time has come for SPB. Completely rewritten by hand by hardworking staffer Matt, the site utilises databases and PHP (as well as a 95% CSS-based layout) to offer quick page load times, appealing new features, and useful information sharing that just wasn't available in past versions of the site. What's next for SPB? Watch this space.
If the previous SPB redesign was a fine wine, then this implementation was a whole vineyard. Featuring beautiful new looks, a sitewide re-coding, glossy effects and exciting new functionality, the Scene Point Blank of 2007 is the website of tomorrow, today. For the full story of its creation, check out Matt's blog entry on the matter.
After almost twelve full months of prototypes, ideas, drawing boards, diagrams and code evolution, SPB 2010 is here. Featuring a sleek and well-organised new design, more prominent content, improved user interaction and more new exciting features, the site is better than it's ever been. Watch this space for a blog post featuring the design process and some of the ideas and logos that didn't make the cut.
A full-scale redesign this time, completely changing the backend programming language from PHP (a constant since 2004!) to Python (in the form of the Django framework, named after everyone's favourite gypsy jazz guitarist). The new SPB has an integrated Spotify player, replaces old commenting systems with Disqus, and offers a much more mature and balanced design. We're really proud of it.
General info Scene Point Blank is a music-based webzine that originated in March 2003. For more info on the site's history, check out the 'About' page. Who do I send promo albums to?! Glad you asked! SPB accepts either digital or physical promo copies of records. Please include the release date and a press sheet or contact info. Items must … Read more
New Writers Are Always Welcome Are you passionate about music and have opinions to share? Do you want to contribute to the scene but don’t quite know how? Consider writing for us. We’re always on the lookout for motivated new staff to join the team. We’re both collaborative and hands-off at Scene Point Blank. What does that mean? We will … Read more
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here: