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May 05, 2014

Black Diet


Find Your Tambourine

If you live in the Twin Cities area, you've probably heard of Black Diet. At the very least you’ve glimpsed the image of frontman Jonathan Tolliver’s iconic hair, which is plastered everywhere from record shop windows to the front of their T-Shirts. Gaining recognition by winning’s 2014 “Are You Local” contest, the last few months have been jam packed with traveling down to Austin for SXSW, going on tour, playing an in-studio performance here at Radio K and releasing their first full-length Find Your Tambourine, out on local label Pinata Records.


Find Your Tambourine pays tribute to lost sounds nostalgic of Otis Redding while providing a modern indie-rock twist. The album opens with a ballad-esque track entitled “Don’t Sleep Alone” and continues to impress with faster paced songs such as “Unbroke” while still paying homage to the days of Motown by providing energetic rhythm sections and call and response dialogue between Tolliver and back-up singer, Mugsy. Most notable for their live performances, Black Diet rocks almost every stage in town; from the Nomad to playing in Powderhorn last Sunday for Mayday, each one with undying energy from all members.


Their debut album was released on Record Store Day with a whirring party at Hymie’s Vintage Records for their fourth annual block party. Playing alongside twenty other local acts, Black Diet headlined the outdoor stage on the closed off 36th Avenue. The band hung around their merch table prior to their performance, selling personalized tambourines with their logo and their split 7 inch with labelmates Southside Desire, released last summer.

Rain fell as they began their set but the crowd stayed put, dancing like crazies as Keyboardist Sean Richard Schultz head bobs while grinning over his keys and Tolliver jumps into the audience and dances with a youngin’ who’s rocking out. Mugsy drew in the crowd with her shimmying dance moves and wild red ringlets as the rain provided us all with a second wind.


With tracks skirting a scope of genres and time periods, their first album does not disappoint. “Don’t Tell Me” gets you dancing with lengthy key parts reminiscent of a Hammond Organ and the energy continues throughout, especially on the last song, “Slow it Down” which very much makes me want to do the opposite. “Thrown Stones” gets you grooving with a conga beat that perfectly accompanies Tolliver’s rich and confident vocals, while “You Did It To Yourself” brings it down and makes you think of every breakup you’ve ever had.

Recorded on analog tapes, this ambitious album fully encompasses soul revival but makes you want to party like you're in your best friends basement. We are all anticipating what will come of the next one, which is said to be in progress. Catch them playing around town and pick up their album on their bandcamp, or at your local record shop!

Nailah Taman