Jean Caffeine
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Jean Caffeine

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1990 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1990
Duo Americana Pop




"Jean Caffeine Geckos in the Elevator"

Jean Caffeine returns with her first album in a decade and the result is a collection that is both slanted and enchanted. Caffeine’s vocal idiosyncrasies at times create a sense of listlessness and her preference for simple Reed and Smith-like arrangements offers more of the same. When it works, almost inexplicably, on tracks such as “Hey Austin” and “Mary O’ Shea” and punk rock memoir “Sadie Saturday Night” the results are undeniably memorable and winning. - Pop Matters & Dallas Morning News

"Texas Platter Jean Caffeine Geckos in the Elevator"

With opener "Lucky Penny," Jean Caffeine slides into a groove so familiar that Geckos in the Elevator tricks you into thinking this veteran rocker spent the last decade honing these 11 celebratory, confessional, autobiographical, and gorgeously patterned songs here in Austin instead of Durham, N.C. "Jane Rearranged" and "Winterland" remind you that while the guitarist has a wonderful voice – confident and self-assured – she's an equally fine songwriter in the Marianne Faithful mold. "Love Letters From Laos" builds into a buzz saw similar to "Devil I Know," but it's the anthemic second track, "Hey Austin," that's her ticket to ride. By the time she sings the second chorus of "Hey Austin, I love you," her exhortation of "come on, everybody" incites the natural sing-along into the song. Good for Jean Caffeine, because if she weren't considered in the upper echelon of sainted local singer-songwriters before – and she's moving back to town as this is being written – she just took her place. (Jean Caffeine revisits her old stomping grounds Saturday, Sept. 3, for an in-store at Antone's Records, and the next night at Roadhouse Rags, 8pm.)
- Austin Chronicle

"Jean Caffeine Geckos in the Elevator"

Singer/songwriter Jean Caffeine makes records rarely these days, preferring the visual medium to satisfy the creative urge. That might make fans impatient, but it also means a Caffeine LP is no shelf-filler - it's a statement. That's not to say Geckos in the Elevator - only her fourth album over the course of a couple of decades - is a concept album, mind you, just that it's a collection of songs that have been lovingly assembled for maximum effect - a fully realized creative vision, if you will.

Geckos follows the troubadour's usual folk/country/rock template fairly closely - there's nothing here the average No Depression fan wouldn't clasp tightly to his/her breast. But the LP isn't a series of clichés, either, given Caffeine's very personal outlook on the world. Her smarts, sensitivity and, most of all, conversational style elevate the political commentary of "Devil I Know," the storytelling waltz of "Sadie Saturday Night" and the hometown salute "Hey Austin" far above formula. She's at her best with more microscopic focus, a la the matter-of-fact emotional plea "Baby I'm Wrong," the expatriate epic "Love Letters From Laos" and the catchy character study "Jane Rearranged."

Occasionally Caffeine doesn't live up to her own potential, wedding some of her strongest melodies to indifferent lyrics, as with "Lucky Penny" and "Hugs." But those are blips in an otherwise finely tuned radar of Geckos in the Elevator. - Blurt Online

"No Deppression"

In concentrating on a batch of songs dealing with the fallout from a soured relationship, Jean Caffeine flirts with the possibility of making a Southwestern Exile in Guyville or even (yikes!) a Texas Jagged Little Pill. Fortunately, the turf she treads upon with Knocked Down 7 Times Got Up * is closer to the hallowed ground of Lucinda William's 1988 eponymous LP, that of an independent woman in her 30s who's been betean up by love and who knows she deserves better.

The moods here run the gamut from venomous in ''The Last Hurrah'' (aimed at her ex, as he goes for a dish of fresh meat: ''Every night is a bachelor party, but you never get to your wedding night'' and ''Tough Act to Follow'' (I know an old fuck can't compete with a new one"), to withdrawn in "The Sea"; from flirtatious in ''Everybody Needs Someone to Think About'' to cautious in ''Worth the Wait''.

Caffeine's ''You Can't Have My Heart''serves as a cynical sister to Lucinda's, ''Am I too Blue''. Whereas Williams offers her lover the shelter of her embrace, such a gesture is not quite as warm coming from Caffeine. She'll hold you, sure, but don't mistake that for love, buddy. You can't have her heart. She gave it away. ''Things You Didn't Say'' is also a sad flipside to another of William's tunes, ''Lines Around Your Eyes''. While Lucinda revels in the saving graces of her boy's wrinkles, Caffeine looks into those same features and sees the true feelings the coward is afraid to vocalize.

Suffice to say, this is basically a lyracist's album. The music tends to be plain (though not unmemorable) acoustic-based rock 'n' roll, often starting with the stole strum of Caffeine's guitar and finishing up like Beggar's Banquet. the one shining exception is the ornate closer, ''Watching the Clouds'', whic producer Lars Goransson turns into a Spector-esque mood piece, finishing off the otherwise arid soundscape with a cavalcade of sound-likeending a dry, dusty day with a rainstorm. Nice touch. It almost makes one feel like maybe there's relief around the bend for the songstress. - No Deppression

"Jean Caffeine's Only Happy When it Rains"

Jean Caffeine's latest album emanates a sort of slumber-party ambiance, whichis simply to say that its female voice balances innocent dreams of girlhoodwith the intimate reality of womanhood. Caffeine has long demonstrated thisknack in her varied and interesting musical career, from drummer for N.Y.'sPulsallama to her savvy Hard Work and a Lot of Hairspray as JeanCaffeine's All-Night Truckstop. With Knocked Down 7 Times, Got Up 8, she does it again -- with a little help from Joey Shuffield and Tony Scalzo of Fastball, and Michael Hall, among others. What's so pleasing is how Caffeine's already deft songwriting seems to mature even as the album's 12 listed tracks progress, from singsong harmonies of "Tijuana Haircut" and the plaintive "Fly Home" to the hidden title track at the end of the utterly charming "Watching the Clouds Roll By." When she sings, "Drop-kicked andsucker-punched a couple of times, some scrapes and bruises but I'm okay/Had thestamina to go all ten, to raise a kid but I'm still on my own and it's still along way home/I'll never be a featherweight but I've got a couple of moves thatno one's got..." it's such a winning combination of wry, worldly wisdom andguileless ingenuity that it seems unfair to saddle her with a "must-see"demand. If that's the way to get you to listen to her sly groove, however, so be it. (Sunday, Hole in the Wall, 10pm)(4.0 stars) -- Margaret Moser - Austin Chronicle

"Cowpunk Goddess"

"Austin's cowpunk goddess unleashes a seething, soulful catharsis of a rock'n' roll album."
- Dallas Observer

"Miss Alternative Country"

"Miss I-was-alternative-country before-alternative-country-was-cool."
"cross between Brenda Lee and Patti Smith."

- Austin American Statesmen

"singer-songwriter riot girl"

Austin, TX Austin's singing/songwriting riot grrl Jean Caffeine is armed with the punk ethic of Patti Smith and the roots-rock sensibility of Sheryl Crow. She sings songs with themes ranging from an unquenchable desire for everything ("I Want It") - CMJ

"I don't Care What Anyone Says..."

"I don't care what anyone else says, Jean Caffeine, I am a fan."
-Townes Van Zandt said to Jean Caffeine - Townes Van Zandt

"Amplifier Online"

She's still hooked on tough roots rock and still writes intelligent, often witty songs that eviscerate the games lovers play. The thing that sets Idee Fixe apart from her previous platters is simply the fact that she's at the top of her game. It's tempting to sum up Caffeine's appeal as a that of a cowpunk Patti Smith, but that would be selling her short. With Idee Fixe, Jean Caffeine proves she deserves to have other artists compared to her. - Michael Toland - Amplifier Online

"Pop Culture Press"

On Idée Fixe, Jean Caffeine1s second solo disc since dissolving the All
Night Truckstop some years back, longtime Austin singer/songwriter moves
farther away from the kitsch and nouveau country stylings of her past,
and dives unflinchingly into mature, caustic, hardboiled songcraft. Where
Caffeine1s last effort, Knocked Down 7 Times Got Up 8, bitterly mused on
heartbreaking romance, Idée Fixe zooms straight into the heart of
darkness, using those same wrecked relationships for a starting point,
ultimately aiming its focus on larger, and darker, philosophical matters:
desire, obsession, guilt, confusion, self-discovery, anger. All these
things simmer throughout the first eight cuts, leading inevitably toward
"Guilt" ("I never stole from the rich/I never gave to the poor") and
"Kiss My Wound," both of which function as a sort of purging, a pouring
out of everything that preceded them. It1s a messy, emotionally-charged
brew that in itself would make for a great album, but Idée Fixe is also
Caffeine1s trek into pure rock ån1 roll. In fact, Idée Fixe heads out
toward the claustrophobic yet searingly rocking soundscapes exemplified
by records like the Rolling Stones1 Exile on Main Street and Patti
Smith1s Horses. The momentum of Lee Jay Pascal1s electric guitar nudges
the songs away from simple folk structures and into a dense, jagged hard
rock sound that1s particularly effective on the title track and "I1m Not
Your Girlfriend," where Caffeine1s sneering, pissed off mood permeates
every groove (recalling the emotional landscape of early Liz Phair, or
even Marianne Faithfull1s Broken English). Idée Fixe1s only real relief
lies in the relative optimism of a rollicking cover of Jon Dee Graham1s
"Big Sweet Life" (try not singing along on the chorus), and the album1s
one rustic nod, "Hand of Country," which fits in nicely before the
heavier, album-closing pieces. (Luke Torn) - Pop Culture Press

"World According To Wawrzyniak"

cuts right to the heart of the matter with touching & absorbing directness…a total winner. - Jersey Beat

"Lightening Strikes"

"With a naked charm that engages via an unadorned honesty, the work on Sadie Saturday Nite presents its author Jean Caffeine as something of a visionary naif. .. plays as an audio scrapbook, the pages of which are crisped about the edges like a binder of punk show flyers stored beneath the bed for the last forty years. ..A delightful singular album." - Stereo Embers

"Jean Caffeine/ Sadie Saturday Night"

A lovely “looking back at growing up right place, right time” record that bares/bears repeated listening! - The Big Takeover

"Sadie SaturdayNite"

It’s a vivid narrative she spins from the outset: thrumming midtempo rocker “Neon Adventure / Mission (District) Statement” offers sonic snapshots of those early days; that’s immediately followed by “High School Was A Drag,” a spoken narrative outlining her misfit status; and then by “Winterland (Talking Blues),” part-spoken and part-sung, telling how she escaped the teenage doledrums via shows by Bowie, the Stones, the Who, Patti Smith, etc. For anyone who was also on the scene at the time, regardless of the city, it all rings remarkable true.

Soon enough, Caffeine immersed herself on the burgeoning San Fran punk scene, and as detailed in the delightfully waltzing—and, musically, determinedly un-punk—title track... She would learn the drums and join a punk band herself, The Urge, later moving across-country to New York where she wound up in actress/rocker Ann Magnuson’s band Pulsallama for a stint before forming her own group, Here, on the album, the ridiculously catchy “All Girl Band” etails those band experiences: “We learned to play on the stage,” she sings, against a jangly/poppy/garagey backdrop, “one note at a time, out of tune, a beat behind.” - Blurt



Sadie Saturday Nite forthcoming Sept. 2017  LP, digital download, streaming
Geckos in the Elevator (Joe Records) 2011 CD, digital download, streaming
Idee Fixe, (Joe Records/Innerstate), CD digital download, streaming
Knocked Down 7 Times, Got Up 8 (Joe Records)  CD digital download, streaming
Jean Caffeine's All Night Truckstop, (cassette, CD Blue Million Miles, 
Germany )
Hard Work and a Lot of Hairspray, (Porch Music, cassette, Bandcamp digital download 2015) 
Hard Work and a lot of Hairspray b/w Hoedown in the Sky
vinyl 45, Rig Rock (Diesel Only/SOL )

tracks on compilations:

Idee Fixe (Want it) on Spin Records compilation (1991?)
Hairspray" on Diesel Only Rig Rock Truckstop
The Last Hurrah, from Knocked Down...Pop Culture Press CD 
45, Rig Rock (Diesel Only/SOL ) and compilation
"Pandora's Box" on Tales from the Edge Compilation, KDGE radio station, Dallas TX 
"Pandora's Box" in Dallas ISD Aids Awareness Video
Idee Fixe Joe/Innerstate 
Big Sweet Life, Idee Fixe track on Spin Radio compilation

Pulsallama:  (Jean was the drummer of Pulsallama) 
The Devil Lives in My Husbands' Body b/w Ungawa Pt. II, Y Records U.S. and U.K. and New York Noise 2, Soul Jazz
Oui Oui (A Canadian in Paris) ( 7'' and 12'' 45), Y Records U.S. and U.K. Ungawa Pt. 2 Sampled on Danny Brown's Atrocity Exhibition 2016On track featured onDisc for Rip it Up, Start Again.

Y Record's CompilationKnocked Down 7 Times, Got up 8 (Cd and cassette, 1993)

KEYE Austin, Nov. 2011 

radio play: 2011
recently did radio campaign with Team Clermont
got spins on:

KOOP Austin, TX
KVRX, Austin,
WCNI, New London
WIBC, Ithica, NY
WVBR, Ithica, NY
WMSE, Milwaukie
KDRP, Dripping Springs, TX
WXAV in Chicago
WBAI, New York
WCRT, Pittsburg
KCSB Santa Barbara, CA
KCSS Turlock, CA
WHUS Storrs, CT
WNHU, West Haven, CT
KWLC, Decorah IA
WRFL-1 Lexington, KY
WUMD, North Dartmouth, MA
CJAM, Windsor, ON, CA
KUMD, Duluth, MN
Guelph, ON, Canada
and more

streaming radio:
Jango, Desert Highway Radio, Woman of Substance,

film placement and TV
Jesus is Coming the movie, Slacker
"Fly Home", Love from Ground Zero
"Hard Work and a lot of Hairspray" performed by Melba Toast on the John Stewart Show.



Caffeine grinds punky pop, indie folk, storytelling and straight up rock and Americana to make her house blend. Critics have likened Jean to "a cross between Patti Smith and Brenda Lee".  

Caffeine's current LP "Sadie Saturday Nite"  is a concept album about growing up punk in San Fran. It's a companion piece to the Sadie Saturday Nite show,  a one woman-one guitar player show that blends storytelling & songs about Jean's coming of age in the punk scene. It is a companion piece to Sadie Saturday Nite the show, which is a one woman-one guitar player show that blends storytelling and songs about Jean's coming of age in the punk scene.  Jean will be playing an official SXSW showcase this year with a full band.  In the US Jean performs usually tours as a duo with John Kovach on guitar. Canadian shows are done with Mike Trebilcock (Killjoys, Simply Saucer on guitar) and sometimes Tom Altobelli on stand up bass. 

Ancient History:
Jean had a colorful rockn'roll past. She started out as a teenage drummer in SF Punk band the Urge in 1978, continuing as 15 -minutes -of -famers Pulsallama, NYC tribal darlings, Pulsallama was known for theatrics, chanting, cardboard props and rhythmic cacophony. They were fronted by Anne Magnusen and Wendy Wild, opened for the Clash, had their picture in Interview Magazine, and got kicked off a bill with John Lydon's PIL before imploding in the late 80's.

Y'allternative Country
Seeking a spot in the spotlight Jean honed her singing and song writing skills and moved to Austin to front her own country honkin' tonkin' rock band,"Jean Caffeine's All-Truck Stop". Jean and her boys played Austin's SXSW, Berlin's BID, California's High Sierra Music fest, NYC's CMJ, Toronto's Harbourfront fest as well as many a roadhouse. She put a cd on Berlin's Blue Million Miles label and a vinyl 45 on Diesel Only which led to a slew of dates with Mojo Nixon.

In recent years she has put out soulful solo releases, "Knocked Down 7 Times got up 8, and Idee Fixe, much championed by critics. All Jean's CD's feature regular band members and special guest appearances by Austin notables such as Jon Dee Graham, Scrappy Judd Newcomb, members of Fastball, Champ Hood, and the legendary Spot.

A couple years back Jean called Canada home. Jean played venues in Ontario and played at NXNE in Toronto. She woodshed, gigged, wrote, recorded with local musicians in both Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario and became re-aquainted with snow. She collaborated with Juno awarded winning singer/songwriting guitar pickin' Mike Trebilcock. He backed her up and together they fronted the BeDraggles with Hamilton notable, Dave Pomfret. She also co wrote songs with Hamilton/Toronto singer songwriter Rae Billing (Blue Black night produced by Peter J. Moore) .

Jean is currently residing in Durham, NC. and local and regional gigs are played as a duo with Julian Cochran on guitar, vocals, banjo and keyboards.

Jean Caffeine is also a visual artist who works in print media and collage. She worked as an animator in Richard Linklater's "Walking Life" also made a cameo in the movie Slacker. (you must look very carefully:)). She has had solo and group art exhibitions in Austin,TX and in Hamilton, Ontario .