Word is slowly catching on about last year's Welders seven-inch on BDR Records. Record collectors love mysteries, and certainly the Welders - a band of St. Louis teen girls who recorded a batch of inspired pop-punk gems in the late 1970s, and then sat on them for three decades - were completely off the radar to non-local residents until now. So it's not surprising that such knowledgeable magazines like The Big Takeover would laud the seven-inch as "a real lost power-punk-pop gem of the highest order!" Then there's the fact that they're on the cover of Maximum Rocknroll this month...
Wait. What? MRR? With the scene reports from obscure countries and the ink that comes off on your fingers?
None other. There they are, on the front of MRR's February 2011 issue (issue #333, if you're keeping track), with the teaser, "The Welders! The Wild Teenage Sound of '70s St. Louis!"
How did that happen?
According to BDR's website, writer Ashley Hohman (whose Mixtape Club project we profiled last summer) sat the band down and interviewed them at their record release party last summer. She submitted the interview to MRR, and presto! Instant cult artists.
This follows a rave review in MRR #332 from Layla Gibbon, a writer/musician who knows her punk history: "They are what you want those girl-band Bomp! seven-inches to be...you know the ones with rad, tuff-lookin' girls on the front that just sound like watered-down bubblegum whine. (They are) informed by the melodies of '60s girl groups but totally invert it to make it fit a group of bad-ass teenage girls from the Rust Belt! They should have toured with the Ramones!" They also made it onto no less than six MRR contributors' Top 10 lists for the month.
Interestingly, MRR #333 also includes a feature on Dolly Mixture, a British trio of teenage girls who conceived their own punk-girl-group hybrid around the same time. Clearly this is no longer your uncle's MRR, dourly obsessed with what is and is not "punk."
What do the Welders - who played one reunion show at the end of 2009 and have thus far refused to do another - make of this unexpected development? With a mix of bemused surprise and their characteristic good humor. "That's terrific! Next thing you know, we'll be guest-hosting The View!" they wrote on their Facebook page. "It's great getting these reviews now, but it always makes me a little wistful for what might have been."
Congratulations, Welders. Those of you who haven't yet purchased their single: What are you waiting for? Vintage Vinyl still had copies as of last weekend, or BDR will happily sell you one directly.