Let's Hang

This is about the fictional places we want to hang out at. By: Neal Christyson
The Top of The Aggro Crag - Nickelodeon’s Guts
The top of the Aggro Crag has to be the most triumphant place in the world.
This is what Kanye West must have been feeling when he wrote “The Glory”.
Sorry blue and purple, this victory belongs to me and my red shirt.  I didn’t even need those extra points earned with my bungee basketball skills and my kayak prowess in the wave pool.  
Did the strobe lights and glitter canons slow you down?  You should have worn goggles bitch.  Did you miss an actuator and a Crag Troll made you turn around?  Not me.  My climb to the top was flawless.  I spent months preparing for this.  Long nights running up the stairs while my sister flashed the lights on and off and my brother threw rock-shaped pillows at me.  Did you actually think those “nuclear flying crystals” were real?  Please, it was just shiny paper.  Champions don’t get slowed down by treadmills and 2-foot climbs.
That’s why I’m standing at the top, looking down.  Watching you struggle to finish.  I’m at the top basking in the adoration of the audience inside the Extreme Arena and feeling the envy of kids around the world.  I did it for the glory.  Aggro Crag, MegaCrag, Super Aggro Crag; I top them all.  Gold medal around my neck and a glowing piece of the Crag held high above my head.
Hey Mo! Tell ‘em what my time was.

The Top of The Aggro Crag - Nickelodeon’s Guts

The top of the Aggro Crag has to be the most triumphant place in the world.

This is what Kanye West must have been feeling when he wrote “The Glory”.

Sorry blue and purple, this victory belongs to me and my red shirt.  I didn’t even need those extra points earned with my bungee basketball skills and my kayak prowess in the wave pool.  

Did the strobe lights and glitter canons slow you down?  You should have worn goggles bitch.  Did you miss an actuator and a Crag Troll made you turn around?  Not me.  My climb to the top was flawless.  I spent months preparing for this.  Long nights running up the stairs while my sister flashed the lights on and off and my brother threw rock-shaped pillows at me.  Did you actually think those “nuclear flying crystals” were real?  Please, it was just shiny paper.  Champions don’t get slowed down by treadmills and 2-foot climbs.

That’s why I’m standing at the top, looking down.  Watching you struggle to finish.  I’m at the top basking in the adoration of the audience inside the Extreme Arena and feeling the envy of kids around the world.  I did it for the glory.  Aggro Crag, MegaCrag, Super Aggro Crag; I top them all.  Gold medal around my neck and a glowing piece of the Crag held high above my head.

Hey Mo! Tell ‘em what my time was.

Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012

Album Covers I’d Like to Hang In

By: Beth Weidl 

Guided By Voices “Bee Thousand”

Is he a wizard, or just regular guy in a hat?  The answer could lie just out of the blue frame where he stands. But much like the miniscule, near-perfect songs this album contains, it keeps me interested, keeps me wondering, and goes no further. There’s no need for excess here –  to expand upon those undoubtedly panoramic mountains would probably have me examining the magical mystery stuff of life, but today, that’s not why I’m here. 

Neutral Milk Hotel “On Avery Island”

There’s no better setting for Jeff Mangum’s dizzying musical odysseys, so grab some cotton candy and ride your heart out at the loneliest carnival on earth. It’s not quite funhouse-clown creepy. You wouldn’t want to bring your family, either. The best word you can think of to describe it is “crooked.” But you still feel like you need to go. At some point in your life, you need to see it for yourself. The rollercoaster might actually drive you into the ocean, and you’re just curious enough to find out. You can leave anytime, you just don’t want to. In fact, when the night hides the watercolored tent tops, you’re already thinking about how you’re going to get back here.

Beach House “Devotion”

The party looks boring, but I have been wanting a piece of that cake for four years.

Bruce Springsteen “Nebraska”

To say I want to hang with The Boss is possibly the greatest understatement of all time. And in all honesty, I think I’d personally rather have our time be spent on the Born to Run cover. I’d replace Clarence (although, who could?) so that when you flip the album over, you see that he’s grinning at me—all leather and working class swagger. But I had to choose Nebraska. To me, it oozes not only the quintessential Springsteen-ness that makes me want to hang with them in the first place, but also is the embodiment of what it means to hang in a larger sense: a lonesome stretch of road. Maybe you have company, maybe you’re counting fence-posts, maybe you’re alone with your thoughts or so bored with your thoughts that you tune them out with the first radio station that comes in clear. But we don’t know what’s going on in this car, in this moment, in Nebraska. Or wherever. The only thing you can tell for sure is that you’re going somewhere. This is what we do when we hang. Asking “where is this going?” and seeing if we can come up with an answer before we get there. Any good Midwesterner knows the impending journey depicted on the cover of Nebraska too well: sky out the window, nothing ahead of you for miles. Presumably there’s nothing much behind you, but The Boss would tell you not to look back and find out. 

Van Morrison “Astral Weeks”

There’s not much to this besides that it looks like the drunk Irish genius Instagram filter, but how else are you ever going to be as cool as Van? Unless you come across the stunning maroon suit from The Last Waltz (and if you do, we are definitely singing “Caravan” at karaoke together), you’re not.

The Smashing Pumpkins “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”

I’ve wanted to hang in Billy Corgan and company’s turn of the century space-fantasy ever since I saw the “Tonight, Tonight” video for the first time when I was “too young to be watching that MTV filth.” (Hey mom!) Honestly, not a lot has changed since then. I still want to ride in a paper-mache rocket and play ancient instruments. I still want the sun and the moon to quiver like they’re hanging from strings above a soundstage and wink at me as I fly by them. I still want to wear ridiculous pseudo-Victorian clothes and be able to ride on clouds and pop out of stars and breathe underwater. Don’t you?

Panda Bear “Person Pitch”

“Hey Fox, throw me a beer.”

“Heads up, Llama!”
“Thanks dude.”

“I’m SO glad we skipped class today.”
“Yeah, me too!”

“Hey Llama?”
“Yeah?”
“Why is almost everyone in here wearing a hat?”

“Dude, it’s a par… oh my god. Is that Kirsten Dunst?”

“Where?”
“Right in front of me! In the red hat!”
“I don’t think so, man.”
“No, that’s totally her. KIRSTEN!”

Aren’t hot tub parties the best?

R. Kelly “TP.3 Reloaded”

I don’t have much to add besides just mentioning this one.  I know Kellz can be polarizing, so if you don’t already want to stand atop a glorious mountain with the certified king of R&B, I’m not sure I could explain to you why I’d want to, anyway.

Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012
The Record Store from a Clockwork Orange
By: Steven Casimer Kowalski
This is all about fear.  This is about the first time you see the cover for Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth.  This is about hidden tracks at the deep of Tool’s Undertow and rumors of something subliminal from Marilyn Manson.  It is not about first seeing, only hearing about the video for Happiness in Slavery by Nine Inch Nails and yes, then it is about seeing that video.  It is about buying a ticket for Gwar and hiding it from your parents.  It is about being young and impressionable and suburban and not having seen much at all.  It is about the first time you go to a hardcore show and a guy passes out flyers for animal rights.  On his table is a TV Playing a grainy VHS of movies from a slaughterhouse.  It is about rumors of dudes in the pit with bats wrapped in barbed wire.   You are young.  This is all exhilarating.
And then it is about growing up and the moment when Cannibal Corpse becomes a punch line.  Later, people argue that Tool is important artistically.  Marilyn Manson becomes implicated when kids go to school and shoot other kids.  And then you watch SICK, a documentary film about Bob Flanagan who was the man turned to mulch in the Happiness in Slavery video.  You learn he lived his entire life with cystic fibrosis and the images in the video, though violent and disturbing, make sense.  Today, that guy at the hardcore show with the animal liberation bent eats meat.  He sold his guitar 10 years ago so he could buy turntables, DJ, and smoke weed.  You actually meet one of those barb-wire-bat holding mosh dudes and they tell you it didn’t really go down like that. 
You’ve seen a good deal.  Your friend has committed suicide.  You have had cancer before 30.  This is about looking back and finding that fun fear.  Watching Alex stalk the store and look at an LP.  Clearly he is up to no good.  He talks to some girls and is confident and takes them home.  It is about reveling in misbehavior.  But it is very hard now because you know where it goes. You know what Alex is capable of.  And away from the music and the movie is real life which scares the shit out of you.  But once there wasn’t.  So this is about finding that point at the top of the coaster.  This is one more time before a big, scary drop.

Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012

The Record Store from a Clockwork Orange

By: Steven Casimer Kowalski

This is all about fear.  This is about the first time you see the cover for Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth.  This is about hidden tracks at the deep of Tool’s Undertow and rumors of something subliminal from Marilyn Manson.  It is not about first seeing, only hearing about the video for Happiness in Slavery by Nine Inch Nails and yes, then it is about seeing that video.  It is about buying a ticket for Gwar and hiding it from your parents.  It is about being young and impressionable and suburban and not having seen much at all.  It is about the first time you go to a hardcore show and a guy passes out flyers for animal rights.  On his table is a TV Playing a grainy VHS of movies from a slaughterhouse.  It is about rumors of dudes in the pit with bats wrapped in barbed wire.   You are young.  This is all exhilarating.

And then it is about growing up and the moment when Cannibal Corpse becomes a punch line.  Later, people argue that Tool is important artistically.  Marilyn Manson becomes implicated when kids go to school and shoot other kids.  And then you watch SICK, a documentary film about Bob Flanagan who was the man turned to mulch in the Happiness in Slavery video.  You learn he lived his entire life with cystic fibrosis and the images in the video, though violent and disturbing, make sense.  Today, that guy at the hardcore show with the animal liberation bent eats meat.  He sold his guitar 10 years ago so he could buy turntables, DJ, and smoke weed.  You actually meet one of those barb-wire-bat holding mosh dudes and they tell you it didn’t really go down like that. 

You’ve seen a good deal.  Your friend has committed suicide.  You have had cancer before 30.  This is about looking back and finding that fun fear.  Watching Alex stalk the store and look at an LP.  Clearly he is up to no good.  He talks to some girls and is confident and takes them home.  It is about reveling in misbehavior.  But it is very hard now because you know where it goes. You know what Alex is capable of.  And away from the music and the movie is real life which scares the shit out of you.  But once there wasn’t.  So this is about finding that point at the top of the coaster.  This is one more time before a big, scary drop.

Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012
Trax - Pretty In Pink
By Neal Christyson
I still love you Andie Walsh.





I was young, 15, 16.  You sat behind the counter flipping through a magazine, with a look on your face as if you didn’t even care that you had the best job in town. It only made me love you more.
I spent so much money buying albums of bands I had never even heard.  I always hoped you would notice my selection and think I was awesome, because you liked it too.  I was in the store, flipping through Psychedelic Furs records when that weird kid lip-synched that Otis Redding song for you and Iona.  He did it wrong. I would have actually sung it for you.
I would have sung you that song then put a copy of Mirror Moves on the counter for purchase.
YOU: That was quite the performance…. (noticing the record) I love this band too!
ME: (cool, interested but not overly excited) They are pretty great.  Like A Stranger is a really great song.
YOU: That is such a great song.  We both have great taste, you should be my boyfriend.
ME: Rad.
We would spend our time hanging around the record store, holding hands and talking about music.  At night we would go to that club where Andrew Dice Clay is the bouncer. He would let us in without a problem because he knows us.  After all, you’re the cute girl who works at Trax, everyone knows you.  We would hang out with all the punks and new wave kids and when the rich handsome kid comes to ask you out on a date you won’t even think twice about it.  He doesn’t love the same records as you do.  He’s not me.
But of course it never happens. Mirror Moves is too obvious of a choice and you don’t even really notice. Or maybe you do? I can’t tell, I’m only 15.  I don’t know how these things work yet. 
 I just know I’m going to keep coming back and keep buying different records hoping you notice.  Quietly, distantly, loving you—the cute girl working at the record store—for the rest of my life.

Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012

Trax - Pretty In Pink

By Neal Christyson

I still love you Andie Walsh.

I was young, 15, 16.  You sat behind the counter flipping through a magazine, with a look on your face as if you didn’t even care that you had the best job in town. It only made me love you more.

I spent so much money buying albums of bands I had never even heard.  I always hoped you would notice my selection and think I was awesome, because you liked it too.  I was in the store, flipping through Psychedelic Furs records when that weird kid lip-synched that Otis Redding song for you and Iona.  He did it wrong. I would have actually sung it for you.

I would have sung you that song then put a copy of Mirror Moves on the counter for purchase.

YOU: That was quite the performance…. (noticing the record) I love this band too!

ME: (cool, interested but not overly excited) They are pretty great.  Like A Stranger is a really great song.

YOU: That is such a great song.  We both have great taste, you should be my boyfriend.

ME: Rad.

We would spend our time hanging around the record store, holding hands and talking about music.  At night we would go to that club where Andrew Dice Clay is the bouncer. He would let us in without a problem because he knows us.  After all, you’re the cute girl who works at Trax, everyone knows you.  We would hang out with all the punks and new wave kids and when the rich handsome kid comes to ask you out on a date you won’t even think twice about it.  He doesn’t love the same records as you do.  He’s not me.

But of course it never happens. Mirror Moves is too obvious of a choice and you don’t even really notice. Or maybe you do? I can’t tell, I’m only 15.  I don’t know how these things work yet. 

 I just know I’m going to keep coming back and keep buying different records hoping you notice.  Quietly, distantly, loving you—the cute girl working at the record store—for the rest of my life.

Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012
Suicide Notes (Formerly Good Vibrations) - The Simpsons
By Joe McAdam
This record store has the 90s-est of names, and it’s from the 90s-est of shows, The Simpsons.  I realize this show continues to have a long and happy life after this decade, but we all know the golden years existed somewhere between 93 and 97, the juicy marbled meat of the Clinton era (our second coolest president, only outdone, of course, by Calvin “the” Coolest)
This store only appears in one episode of The Simpsons, “Homerpalooza”.  In an attempt to connect with his carpool (cool 10 year olds?), Homer seeks out hip music, only to find himself in a world he doesn’t understand.  
It’s a classic fish out of water tale, Homer remembers the simpler days of rock n roll, with Grand Funk, Bread, Mountain, and various incarnations of Jefferson related vehicle-inspired bands.  But he’s stuck in a world of 90s irony, loathing, and detached hipness.  Try as he might, it’s nearly impossible to fake cool, especially when you’re a fat bald old man in a Rasta hat.
This episode says a lot about “cool” and what it means.  Maybe Homer was never a cool guy, even in his youth he is mocked and shunned by the cooler kids.  But his quest is rebooted in his midlife though, by a trip to Suicide Notes, where he is promptly mocked by the slacker clerk for liking Styx.  That doesn’t stop him from continuing though.  He ends up reaching out to the counter culture by getting tickets to Hullabalooza.  A move designed to gain the respect of his kids, which works, but also gets him the admiration from the alternative music scene.
By becoming part of a traveling freak show, Homer somehow manages to gain the respect of Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, and Cypress Hill in his middle age.  Based on his ability to be himself, and have cannonballs shot at his gut, he reaches a level of cool he’s never experienced.  It’s a rare thing to see a man so fulfilled.
I learned a lot about what “cool” is through this episode.  I also learned a lot about what “cool” isn’t.  Cool isn’t what bands you listen to, or what record store you shop at, it’s pretty much just about getting hit in the stomach with cannonballs.  Take it from Homer Simpson; the man who embodies everything about rock and roll (except the music).

Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012

Suicide Notes (Formerly Good Vibrations) - The Simpsons

By Joe McAdam

This record store has the 90s-est of names, and it’s from the 90s-est of shows, The Simpsons.  I realize this show continues to have a long and happy life after this decade, but we all know the golden years existed somewhere between 93 and 97, the juicy marbled meat of the Clinton era (our second coolest president, only outdone, of course, by Calvin “the” Coolest)

This store only appears in one episode of The Simpsons, “Homerpalooza”.  In an attempt to connect with his carpool (cool 10 year olds?), Homer seeks out hip music, only to find himself in a world he doesn’t understand. 

It’s a classic fish out of water tale, Homer remembers the simpler days of rock n roll, with Grand Funk, Bread, Mountain, and various incarnations of Jefferson related vehicle-inspired bands.  But he’s stuck in a world of 90s irony, loathing, and detached hipness.  Try as he might, it’s nearly impossible to fake cool, especially when you’re a fat bald old man in a Rasta hat.

This episode says a lot about “cool” and what it means.  Maybe Homer was never a cool guy, even in his youth he is mocked and shunned by the cooler kids.  But his quest is rebooted in his midlife though, by a trip to Suicide Notes, where he is promptly mocked by the slacker clerk for liking Styx.  That doesn’t stop him from continuing though.  He ends up reaching out to the counter culture by getting tickets to Hullabalooza.  A move designed to gain the respect of his kids, which works, but also gets him the admiration from the alternative music scene.

By becoming part of a traveling freak show, Homer somehow manages to gain the respect of Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, and Cypress Hill in his middle age.  Based on his ability to be himself, and have cannonballs shot at his gut, he reaches a level of cool he’s never experienced.  It’s a rare thing to see a man so fulfilled.

I learned a lot about what “cool” is through this episode.  I also learned a lot about what “cool” isn’t.  Cool isn’t what bands you listen to, or what record store you shop at, it’s pretty much just about getting hit in the stomach with cannonballs.  Take it from Homer Simpson; the man who embodies everything about rock and roll (except the music).