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Ninjas With Syringes

While Georgia and the Carolinas were Southern hot spots in the jangle pop sweepstakes of the 1980s, the Primitons demonstrated that there were great modern pop bands brewing in Alabama, too. The Primitons (the name was meant to be an abbreviation of "Primitive Tones") were formed in Birmingham, Alabama in 1984 by guitarist and vocalist Mats Roden and drummer and accordionist Leif Bondarenko, who had previously worked together in the band Jim Bob & the Leisure Suits. Teaming with bassist Brad Dorset, who studied alongside Roden at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, the group began playing locally and wrote songs in collaboration with Stephanie Truelove Wright, a lyricist who didn't perform with the group. In 1985, the group recorded a self-titled seven-song EP, produced by Mitch Easter, which was released by the prestigious but short-lived Boston indie label Throbbing Lobster. The record received enthusiastic reviews and the Primitons toured through the South and the East Coast in support. By the end of 1985, Dorset had left the group, and Don Tinsley stepped in as the Primitons' new bassist. The new lineup recorded a 12" single, "Don't Go Away" b/w "Something on My Mind" and "Come What May," which was released by What Goes On Records in 1986. In 1987, the Primitons released their first full-length LP, Happy All the Time, which featured a guest appearance by Tim Lee of the Windbreakers, but despite strong reviews the band struggled to expand its audience beyond a cult following, hampered by lackluster promotion and poor distribution of its recordings. The Primitons continued on as a live act before breaking up in 1990. In 2012, Arena Rock Records released Don't Go Away: Collected Works, which brought the Primitons' three vinyl releases to CD for the first time. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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