Turn That Frown Upside Down
Good and evil, life and death, attraction and repulsion, love and hate. The notion that duality is necessary to our existence is not new. Perhaps Super Happy Story Time Land will elucidate the creative nature of opposing forces in a way that William Blake couldn’t have imagined: happy death metal about life.
From Sequim and Port Angeles, Wash., SHSTL says it’s a band about making good choices, “kinda like Disneyland meets Cannibal Corpse and the Partridge Family at the same time,” according to the MySpace page. Supposedly the group’s lyrics parody traditional death metal themes, and judging by song titles on the 2007 EP Cuddles and Crayons (“Forgive and Forget,” “Please and Thank You”), and the band’s 2008 EP, Aww, You Would! (“Bearstronausts,” “I Wanna Be A Dinosaur”) and appearance in photos (great big smiles, stripy knit hats, colorful jackets), I must believe that’s true, but I can’t decipher enough of the guttural growl to be sure. Once you get past the novelty/spoof idea, the music is similar to most grind- or splattercore bands. Songs are built off big, sludgy riffs trading off with nearly amusical lightspeed drum battery. Blast beats abound. Song structures are pretty rigid, with a smidgeon of melodic flourish to counteract the brutality. In an age where metal bands take themselves oh-so-seriously, it’s nice to give fans a reason to laugh. And it’s a bonus that the music is still enjoyable even after the joke has been told. The Athiarchists, Better Left Unsaid, Super Happy Story Time Land, Only Nightmares and Pantheon play at 7:30 pm Saturday, April 4, at WOW Hall. $7 adv., $9 door. — Vanessa Salvia
Cross the Power Rangers with the Ramones and put them on a crazy Japanese game show, and you might be close to Peelander-Z. This New York City-based trio describe themselves as Japanese action comic punk, and although I have no idea what that means, I can tell you that it’s as fun as it sounds. On the group’s fifth full-length, P-Pop-High School, the ebullient, off-the-wall threesome known only by their color-coded aliases, Peelander-Yellow (guitar and vocals), Peelander-Red (bass) and Peelander-Green (drums), peels through two-minute pop-punk numbers like “Ninja High Schooool,” “Let’s Go! Karaoke Party!” and my personal favorite, “So Many Mike,” about the ubiquitous American moniker. But their peppy, bouncy music is simply the soundtrack to their kooky, action-packed live show. Decked out in color-coordinatedleotards (which they describe as their skin), the members of Peelander-Z encourage extreme audience participation in the form of sing-alongs, aerobics, kung-fu action and wrestling. There is no such thing as a fourth wall in the world of Peelander-Z. Singer Peelander-Yellow probably expresses this best when he says, “Do human bowling with us. Do limbo dancing with us. Do karaoke competition with us. Hit our cowbell with us. Don’t be shy, give us your smile! We can beat your stress! See you at our show!” Peelander-Z plays at 7 pm, Monday, April 6, at the Axe and Fiddle, Cottage Grove. All ages. $4. — Jeremy Ohmes