Dilly Dally Alley Think That I’m Pretty

The Twin Cities jazz-pop sextet channel the heady days of new love in their single.

Dilly Dally Alley pour a little honey in your ear with their sweet new single That I’m Pretty — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

The Twin City sextet’s latest enchanting release is the musical equivalent of riding a merry-go-round on a sunny summer day with an ice-cream cone in one hand and your beloved holding the other. While the band serve up a slice of sweetly swirling, gently percolating 7/8 jazz-pop syncopation — colourfully decorated with chipper, high-flying horns, lush keyboards and even a funky wah-wah guitar-laced break — singer-guitarist Sophia Spiegel dreamily channels the early, heady days of new love with her vocal melodies and starry-eyed delivery.

But here comes the old switcheroo: The track was actually penned by trumpeter Mitch Van Laar, making his songwriting debut with a cut that evolved from a melody he had been patiently waiting to utilize for years. Following the second date with his girlfriend, he felt an irresistible pull toward the piano, and at long last, that melody found its meaning. Weeks of experimentation followed as he tirelessly explored different melodies and harmonies, with his patient roommate bearing witness to the extremely repetitive process. The song ends with a powerful chorus repeating the lyric “When you said that I’m pretty,” referring to a transformative memory of Mitch’s girlfriend telling him that she thinks that he is pretty. Midway through the song, Van Laar and sax player Denny Carlson offer a winding, electrifying melody that originated during Mitch’s college days when he lived in an apartment above a garage.

Dilly Dally Alley are a Minneapolis band that got started in 2022. Since releasing their debut album in 2023, they have gained a reputation for their lively riffs, horn-infused bombast, and performances that integrate public ritual and playful crowd experiments. Ultimately, they just hope their music and their community organizing taps into human universals that make audiences more aware of who they can care for in their communities, their biomes and their world. Dilly hope their eclectic jazz sound inspires audiences to dance a little harder, love a little better, scream a little louder and be better caretakers for each other and our world.

Founder and leader Spiegel first beheld the talents of her bandmate Will Kjeer (keyboards) at Interlochen Arts Academy. She then went on to play cello with her other two mates, Maxwell Voda (bass) and Kevin Yetter (drums) in the St. Olaf Orchestra. When the pandemic hit and there weren’t many folks she could play with, Spiegel picked up the guitar, decided to mess around on the cello with a loop pedal, and wrote the bulk of the tunes heard in Dilly Dally Alley’s 2023 album Make You Whole. When Spiegel decided to share these songs with her bandmates, the music formed a mind of its own. They had a sense then were making something a lot of folks could dig. Of course, that’s what every band thinks when they start out. But they’re still here, and you’re still reading this, so joke’s on you.

They decided to record the tracks for their debut right before Kjeer and Yetter left for grad school in August of 2022 (Dilly loves them and eternally wishes them well). Sophia went on to write horn parts for all the tracks, and began collaborating with Adam Tucker, coproducing the excessive bells and whistles heard in Make You Whole. She then recruited all the immaculately grooved Twin Cities legends she could think of — Carlson, Ben Ehrlich (drums), Leva Schwartzberg (keyboards) and Van Laar, joining linchpin bassist Voda — and began her work forging the dreams of this freshly minted group of pals.

Listen to That I’m Pretty above, hear more from Dilly Dally Alley below, and check them out on their website and Instagram.