LA singer-songwriter Jess Kallen (they/them) has just released a wonderful new single “Exotherm” which is also the title-track of their debut album which is out on June 21st on New Professor Music. The record is a dynamic collection of soothing strums, sparkling finger plucks and booming choruses as Kallen maneuvers anger and confusion while holding silliness (and a soft spot for non-human critters) as a hallmark of their record. This is most evident in the first lines of “Exotherm” which immediately tugs at the gut with its lopsided groove and surprising protagonist: “My pet turtle likes the space between the flower pot and wall / Feels like a hug without really being held at all”. Check out the track below as well as the official video starring Kallen’s own pet box turtle!
Jess Kallen’s folk-rock debut grapples with grief, rage, rebirth and love with raucous urgency and whimsical charm. “I chronically ruminate. Most days my head is like a rock tumbler. Gets pretty noisy.” Exotherm was recorded live over 2 days, serving the songs written mid-pandemic lockdown with extra urgency. Embracing subversiveness in life and lyrics, the songs pave a path of nimble metaphors interlaced with charming aphorisms—and a healthy dose of existential dread.
Hungrily gravitating toward the guitar at only five years old due to the influence of their dad loosely playing at home, Kallen attended USC’s Thornton School of Music for guitar performance. They continue to call LA home and, in addition to being a Teaching Artist with the Young Musicians Foundation, playing in various rock and pop projects, including Rosie Tucker, Alex Lahey and Temme Scott. Don’t miss Jess Kallen’s Exotherm album release show at Club Tee Gee in LA on June 26 (tickets available from their website) and get all the latest news on Instagram.