The Psychic Soviet
"In a sense the book is Mr. Svenonius's love letter to the good old days of do-it-yourself punk concerts, though it's cleverly disguised as a series of Marxian essays."
--New York Times
"The pocket-sized book--given Svenonius's communism infatuation, the parallel to Mao's Little Red Book is no mistake--contains well-thought-out arguments on a variety of subjects, from vampires to the origins of punk rock. It's often funny, but never in a self-consciously ironic way."
"Ian Svenonius has come a long way since Sassy Magazine first dubbed him the 'Sassiest Boy in America' in 1991. The DC singer has never been anything less than political to the extreme."
A new, expanded collection of essays and articles from one of the mainstays of the Washington, DC, underground rock and roll scene, The Psychic Soviet is Ian F. Svenonius's groundbreaking first book of writings. The selections are written in a lettered yet engaging style, filled with parody and biting humor that subvert capitalist culture, and cover such topics as the ascent of the DJ as a star, the "cosmic depression" that followed the defeat of the USSR, how Seinfeld caused the bankruptcy of modern pop culture, and the status of rock and roll as a religion. The pocket-sized book is bound with a durable bright-pink plastic cover, recalling the aesthetics of Mao's Little Red Book, and perfect for carrying into the fray of street battle, classroom, or lunch-counter argument.
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About the Author
Ian F. Svenonius is the author of the underground best sellers Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group and Censorship Now!! He was also the host of VBS.tv's Soft Focus, where he interviewed Mark E. Smith, Genesis P. Orridge, Chan Marshall, Ian MacKaye, and others. As a musician he has created more than twenty albums and countless singles in various rock and roll combos (Chain & the Gang, Weird War, The Make-Up, The Nation of Ulysses, etc.). He lives in Washington, DC.
Praise for Censorship Now!!
"While putting a copy of this book on your nightstand would be a sign of good taste, who cares about good taste? Are you willing to be seen reading a book titled Censorship Now!! in public? If so, your skin might burn with funny glances from squares, scolds and looky-loos. But on the inside, you'll feel your brain throbbing as it swells to accommodate some hilarious, absurd and radical new strategies on how to live in our ridiculous world."
"Svenonius' new book is Censorship Now!!, and the title alone shows just how provocative the author can be. A collection of essays previously published by Vice, Jacobin, and others, it sets up numerous enemies--both real and straw--for Svenonius to knock down....It's all couched in a style that's part anarchist tirade, part postmodern critique, and part punk-rock snottiness--yet it's addictively ridiculous."
"Gonzo ecstasy for those who have come to know Svenonius's self-aware political meditations....And though the essays Svenonius writes are not themselves unclear, the process of talking about what he's written involves discussions that some might find uncomfortable. His books make more sense the more you dissect them. So keep them in your back pocket and read them, one word at a time."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"Ian Svenonius is best known as the frontman of bands like the Make-Up and Nation of Ulysses, but he's also a brilliant cultural critic with a talent for coming up with the hottest takes you'll ever read. In this collection, Svenonius makes compelling arguments in favor of censorship and hoarding books and records, amid polemics against Apple and Ikea, the yuppification of indie rock, and the shaving of pubic hair."
"The essays in Censorship Now!! are equally packed with modest proposals and mock-revolutionary rhetoric, but there are grains of truth in pieces like 'The Historic Role Of Sugar In Empire Building' and 'Heathers Revisited: The Nerd's Fight For Niceness'--they're just buried somewhere between tongue and cheek."
--The A.V. Club
Praise for Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group
"So much of the allure here is in watching Svenonius skirt absurdity. He's always seemed delighted by the fact that the profound and the preposterous can sound awfully alike, a realization that puts him in line with an avant-garde tradition that stretches back before rock 'n' roll crystallized this fact...Svenonius has the spirit of a long-gone punk past, but his book has more to tell us about rock's here-and-now than about its hereafter. Neither bourgeois nor prestigious, Supernatural Strategies may be the rare book by a rock musician to retain any power or threat."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"Like its author, Supernatural Strategies is part tongue-in-cheek, part deadly serious--a satire of rock's consumerist origins but also a thoughtful treatise on what it means to devote yourself to a collective...Drawing from the wisdom of rock 'n' roll's most famous ghosts, Svenonius' advice ranges from hilarious to cryptic to surprisingly useful."
"Svenonius has walked the walk...Even today--as the frontman of Chain & The Gang and the host of the online talk show Soft Focus--he remains cool, cryptic, and impeccably dressed, a mod magician with a trick always lurking up his tailored sleeve."
--The Onion AV Club
"If 'write what you know' is one of authorship's prime dictates, then Ian F. Svenonius seems uniquely qualified...Svenonius' contrarian, anti-establishment rhetoric is his greatest gift...Strategies plays to these same strengths by allowing him to run roughshod riot over hallowed ground he's already trod--and sometimes paved--more than a few times."
--Baltimore City Paper