Mondo Topless
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Mondo Topless

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The best kept secret in music

Press


And now in the category "Most likely to get played on Little Steven's Underground Garage radio show" - and that's not a bad thing at all - comes the pride of Philadelphia, the mighty, magnificent Mondo Topless. Detractors could point out that this potent foursome from the Keystone state does nothing that The Lyres haven't already done ­ to which I would reply: "yeah, so?" This is growling, howling farfisa-driven garage rock that belies the influence of 1000 sweaty gigs and many nights hunkered down with Nuggets and Pebbles compilations. Essentially, when The Fleshtones get thanked in the liner notes, we know we're in for a good time. Go Fast does not disappoint, you better get yourself some. (www.gethip.com) - The Big Takeover


This is like a nice, loud letter bomb from an old friend. Just when it seemed like Mondo Topless had faded into the ether, here comes their strongest album yet, five years after the last one, loaded with all the sounds that made them cool before but now sporting much improved songwriting. Led by Sam Steinig's engaging voice and Vox Continental organ, Mondo Topless could play Sinatra and it would come out a great frat party song. Kris Alutius burns up the tracks with one of the meanest guitar tones in the biz, especially in the last section of "Futility Dance." That guitar is so mean-toned it's as if Robert Johnson brought it back from the crossroads, autographed by "the other guy in the transaction," if you know what I mean. No? Don't matter. You'll understand the moment you hear it. If you're anywhere near Philly, watch for these guys in the clubs, you lucky bastards. Since they're on Get Hip, they'll probably be venturing out on the road now and then, so we'll all have a chance to bask in the whirlpool of energy they stir up. Meanwhile, this CD at high volume is my Rx for whatever ails you, from depression to exhaustion to a broken heart. You'll be jammin' in no time. This stuff is so happy and energetic it sweeps you up in its own excitement, and that's always welcome. - Cosmic Debris


his Philadelphia garage band is named after Russ Meyer's pseudo-documentary, and like their namesake -- a 1966 look at bare-breasted women worldwide -- they gleefully step on, over and way the hell past the boundaries of good taste. The band raunchily tears through tracks like "Panty Sniffer" and "Think with Your Hands" (further pursuing a theme from their first album, Fifty-Thousand Dollar Hand Job) with a sound that is as dirty and leering as the lyrics it supports. It's juvenile, and full of the sniggering smart-ass humor you last heard in the back row of high school homeroom, but it's also seriously rocking and really, really fun.If you're playing along with our garage rock bingo game at home, you'll find Mondo Topless in the Merseybeat-influenced column, fourth row down ("Includes organ player", just after "Female lead singer", "Blues duo" and "No bass player"). Sam Steinig's vintage Vox Continental organ is, perhaps, the band's defining feature, squealing and swirling and surging under their manic beat. The Vox Continental was one of the earliest portable organs, and its bare bones sound (no bass, limited vibrato) was the hockey-rink heart of songs by the Monkees ("I'm a Believer"), Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Dave Clark Five. If you've ever heard the high-toned arpeggios beneath Eric Burdon's guitar in the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun", you've heard a Vox Continental at its best, and Steinig pays tribute to the Animals' keyboardist Alan Price in a cover of "I'm Crying". It's a frantic romp through every decade's garage land -- Mondo Topless borrowing from the Animals, the Animals borrowing from Bo Diddley, and Bo -- well, who knows where he got that guitar line, but I bet he didn't make it up. Among the original tracks, "Think with your Hands" is the standout -- John Loxterman's snaky, sinister bass line percolating under Kris Alu's surf-guitar accents and underlying Steinig's creepy, insinuating vocals. "Horsefeathers" is also quite good, built on a very simple, punishing drum line with a rhythmic stop-and-start verse and a shouted chorus of "Horsefeathers ... You said it again." It's bare, stripped-down rock and roll at its essence -- not a lick of organ here. "Anytime" puts the same insistent rhythm to work in the bass line, tops it with a syrupy wash of organ, and backs the vocals down to a sweeter, mildly poppier level. No garage band worth its salt can leave the Stooges alone, so Go Fast! closes with that band's "Loose", from the Funhouse album. It's a reasonably good cover, but listening to the two side by side just makes it obvious where current garage rock diverges from the old stuff. Iggy sings like he's just back from sabbatical in the ninth circle of hell, rocking like a lost soul who knows he's headed back as soon as the song ends. Mondo Topless, by contrast, sounds like they're closing out the coolest keg party you've ever been to, and maybe afterwards will grab a few pancakes at the all-night diner. They just can't wipe the grins off their faces, and while that may keep them from ever being as demon-ridden brilliant as the Stooges, it does make Go Fast! a slamming good time. - Splendid eZine


The title of this disc says it all. Mondo Topless plays motor-mouth rock and roll, the kind of stuff that encourages you to raise your fist in the air, scream your lungs out, and shake your rump to. Each and every song on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania band's new album is delivered in a super duper, high-energy mode. "Go Fast!" really does unleash one wild and crazy corker after another, giving the listener the impression Mondo Topless devoured pounds of candy bars and drank gallons of coffee before entering the studio. Pronounced by a reverberating rhapsody of stabbing guitar breaks, digging organ grooves, bellowing vocals and titanic drum thrills, the record is as powerful as a thunder and lightning storm. Original numbers such as "No More," "Panty Sniffer," "Think with Your Hands" and "Bottomless Pit" plainly indicate Mondo Topless has a gift for parenting million dollar melodies amid their manic enthusiasm. "Go Fast!" is bundled tight with nothing but catchy curves and arrangements that click the first time around. The members of Mondo Topless are serious scholars of purebred garage rock, having learned their lessons from the likes of The Unrelated Segments, The Ramones and The Cynics. A great disc from a great band!
- Lance Monthly


Mondo Topless: Go Fast! - by Alex Steininger
Don't tell Get Hip Recordings that garage rock is the new 'in' sound, because they've been doing it before MTV even knew what garage rock was (though well after the original 50s and 60s garage rock movement died). With a cast and crew of rock lovers, Get Hip has always been the best source for quality garage rock. And if their latest release, Mondo Topless' Go Fast! doesn't make you want to dance and inspire you to love garage rock again, than nothing will. Go Fast! is as classic as they come - sweat-drenched, fast, and hip shaking good. The organ soaked, fast-paced rhythms, and manic guitars all come crashing together to make an appetizing sound, a fresh, refreshing rock sound that recalls sock hops on speed as much as it does the post-punk movement. Mondo Topless creates sixteen tracks here that will devour you and make you come back for more. It is the sweat taste of rock 'n' roll's sweat, and you just can't get enough. I'll give it an A-. - In Music We Trust


Awash in pipes from a Vox Continental Organ, Philadelphia's Mondo Topless is high-energy garage rock in its purest, finest form. This quartet's "Get Ready for Action" (Dionysus) will eternally win my blue-ribbon of excellence for one big reason: of the 2,500-or-so CDs, records and tapes that live in my collection, maybe fifty are packed with great songs from beginning to end. "Get Ready for Action" is one of those fifty. This isn't groundbreaking really, in that the tunes are an amalgamation of sixties garage/pop rock and punk rock, but the band's ability to write inescapably sharp hooks sets them apart from the legions of garage-rock bands that write three cool songs and then load a record with nine fillers. Every MT song is uptempo energy, organ-driven but backed by high-fuzz, low-end guitar noise (which is the punk-rock part); "Down," doubled in pace and minus the organ and vocals, could easily be any song from any Exploited record. And the night couldn't be better: a small venue (which means a small cover charge), and not on one of the amateur (Friday, Saturday) nights. Rock rarely gets this good. - New City Chicago


Discography

2003: "Go Fast" - CD/LP on Get Hip Recordings
2002: "No More" b/w "Panty Sniffer" - 7" Single on Get Hip Recordings
1998: "Get Ready for Action" - CD/LP on Dionysus Records
1997: "Amazon Queen" b/w "Leave Me Alone" - 7" Single on G.I. Productions
1996: "$50,000 Hand Job" - CD/LP on 360 Twist Records
1995: "Stay Away" b/w "In The End" - 7" Single on Dionysus Records
1995: "I Want To" b/w "Real Gone Girl" - 7" Single on Worrybird Disc

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Since Halloween night in 1992, Mondo Topless has been serving audiences a tasty concoction of fuzzy-spicy guitar, bubbly-thumpy bass, and crunchy drums, all topped with a thick cheesy organ sauce.

It's a simple concept, really: "Rock n' Roll is more about primal energy and erotic tension than deep meaning and introspection," says Sam Steinig, singer and organ grinder. This is also a clever way of avoiding people trying to figure out the lyrics. To further convey his music philosophy, Sam turned to Russ Meyer's classic 1968 travelogue for the name of the band.

Thus, armed with his third-hand Vox Continental organ, he took it upon himself to enrich the world with some really loud, fast and stupid rock n' roll. The latest incarnation of Mondo Topless features mad-scientist Tom Connors continuing to punish his drums, whilst bassist and coffee-achiever John Loxterman adds the requisite thud. Kris Alutius, technician/guitarist/beef jerky spokesman, adds the squeals, pings, and power chords necessary for any garage rock ensemble. Stirred and heated to boiling, and you've got some damn fine song stylings, capable of inducing shaking, jumping and other irrational acts.

The influences are easy to identify: The Sonics, The Stooges, The Kinks, The Lyres, The Cramps, The Cynics, and that woman who plays the between-inning music at your local minor-league ballpark (provided she's had a couple of pops).

Mondo Topless has attracted the attention of several independent record labels over the years. In 1995, Worrybird Disk International, of Atlanta, GA, took the plunge, releasing the first single "I Want To" b/w "Real Gone Girl." Shortly thereafter, legendary garage label Dionysus chimed in with another single, "In The End" b/w "Stay Away." In 1996, the now-defunct Denver, CO imprint 360 Twist! released the first Mondo Topless long-player "Fifty-Thousand Dollar Hand Job."

Following each of these releases Mondo Topless hit the road to bring the "Mondo Sound" to the people. From 1995 to 1997, the peripatetic group left their native Philadelphia to invade Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver, Orlando, Tuscaloosa, and points in-between. Mondo Topless has been paired with such garage, punk and rock 'n roll luminaries as Southern Culture on the Skids, The Fleshtones, The Swingin' Neckbreakers, The Woggles, The Lyres, The Original Sins, Ronnie Dawson, The Cynics, Dick Dale, and more. They also appeared at garage festivals like Cavestomp and Sleazefest.

In 1997, G.I. Productions, USA! invited Mondo Topless to contribute a song for their "Invasion of the Insectoids" compilation. In that same year, G.I. released a 3-song 7" E.P., entitled "Amazon Queen."

Bolstered by the rave reviews for "Amazon Queen," in the Fall of 1998, Dionysus returned to the well to release the second Mondo Topless full-length, "Get Ready for Action!"

In the spring of 2002, Get Hip Recordings released a new Mondo Topless 7" single, "No More" b/w "Panty Sniffer".

They're still hawking their critically acclaimed album ("Go Fast!") on Get Hip recordings, but never fear; they're spending some quality time in the dungeon, coming up with more spew-tastic rumblings for your listening pleasure. Look for their follow-up on Get Hip later on in 2005. In the meantime, you can check out a new recording of Solomon Burke's "Stupidity" on their MySpace page by clicking here.

Official Mondo Topless Website: www.mondotopless.com