When we decided to shift gears with the SLAMMys this year, we weren’t sure if the annual issue would accelerate at a pleasant rate, fall into reverse or just flat-out stall in a ditch of our own digging. But, we took the risk knowing that something had to change. Past years revolved around a round-robin Battle of the Bands format, with the winner receiving a trip to Austin to play in the South by Southwest music festival. When SXSW canceled our time slot and limited access to official festival events, we tossed out the traditional competition and placed more emphasis on highlighting Salt Lake City’s incredibly diverse scene through five weeks of showcases featuring nominated bands. That’sright. Nominated. I know what you’re thinking: “You elitist pricks!” Fair enough. We knew there would be some oversights—and that’s awesome. Our scene is growing every day. Just when we think we’ve heard all of the killer bands in town, another one shows up to blow us away. We are always open to new music, but we can’t always come to you. One of the biggest lessons we learned through this process is that many local artists seem to think we’re too cool for school. Or maybe they’re too cool for us? Truth is, we want bands to send us CDs for review. We want them to e-mail us about upcoming shows. Hell, we want them to stop by to talk shop now and then. We’ll make time. Basically, we cover music because we love it. We think Salt Lake City is just as good as—if not better than—Los Angeles, New York City, or whatever urban hotspot is the buzz town of the day. In fact, we love our bands so much, we want to help improve their game. As local musicians Trevor Hale and James Burnitt will tell you (and do so in this issue), the secret to success involves (gasp!) getting out of town and touring like crazy. It also requires sacrifice, financial planning (as Bad Brad Wheeler explains in his Web exclusive) and—this is the easy part—a decent press kit: a hi-res photo (not an artsy polaroid or headshots of individual band members), a one-sheet and either an album or link to MP3s. Some SLAMMys winners took this advice to heart. Others, we stumbled upon or aggressively pursued, half-expecting to be slapped with a restraining order. We kid! But seriously, folks. If you still haven’t checked out all that SLC has to offer, turn the page—and pump up the jams.