My introduction to Franz Ferdinand came via the video for the debut single airing on MTV2, probably on the Zane Lowe show.

The tune itself would have been enough to make me sit up and pay attention, but the fact that the video had been shot in my home city just made it that bit more exciting. I made a point of seeking out the single the following day and learned from the bloke behind the counter that, yes they were from Glasgow and that they had been part of the scene in the city for a few years with a few other bands which were rhymed off, none of which meant anything to me.

I took the CD single home and found myself a little bit anxious before playing it for the first time. The video was fresh in my head as was a chant-a-long chorus which I was sure was in German or perhaps Polish or Czech. What if it didn’t live up to expectations and that further listens would reveal it to be a bit of a dud?

Thankfully, it proved to be the opposite, with it sounding better, fresher and increasingly energetic with each repeated listen. It was that mix of angular spiky guitars that got me – as if the best of Glasgow and NYC had come together in three fabulous minutes

mp3: Franz Ferdinand – Darts Of Pleasure

It was the release of the sophomore single, Take Me Out, that turned Franz Ferdinand into indie and festival superstars in early 2004. Luckily, I had managed to catch a couple of shows in smaller venues but gently kicking myself that I had missed out on the gigs they had played in all sorts of unauthorised locations across the city in the preceding months as they built a reputation among the young folk who just knew about these sort of things. Looking back, it was an early example of the social media/internet going a long way to breaking a band and it was a medium I had no involvement with at all.

The other thing that I liked about the debut single was that the two b-sides (as such on a CD) were just as enjoyable but were nothing like the single. There was a sort of 70s art-rock about one of them, which also sounded as if it had a different singer (which turned out to be the case) while the other made me think of The Fall, but with a singer who didn’t drawl in a Mancunian accent but instead rapped about being the new Scottish gentry:-

mp3: Franz Ferdinand – Van Tango
mp3: Franz Ferdinand – Shopping For Blood

I actually don’t think Franz Ferdinand really bettered the debut single, certainly not in terms of me getting quite as excited (actually, that’s not quite true – I think Michael is an outstanding single, one which was bold and daring as it challenged the machismo of many a Glasgow male to sing-a-long – oh, and their cover of Sound and Vision where they roped in Girls Aloud to do the backing vocals!!);  but it is fair to say that they struck a chord with a wider audience, partly from the consistent excellence of the songs on the first couple of albums, but also from the fact they were a really good live act, capable of putting on a show in the smallest of venues as well as the large arenas and outdoor stages to which they would soon become very familiar.



The wiki summary:-

Franz Ferdinand are a Scottish indie rock band, formed in 2002 and based in Glasgow. The band’s original lineup was composed of Alex Kapranos (lead vocals and guitar, keyboard), Nick McCarthy (rhythm guitar, keyboards and backing vocals), Bob Hardy (bass guitar), and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals). Dino Bardot (guitar and backing vocals) and Julian Corrie (keyboards, synthesiser, guitar and backing vocals) joined the band in 2017 after McCarthy left during the previous year. The band has been notable for being one of the more popular post-punk revival bands, garnering multiple UK top 20 hits and selling over 3 million albums worldwide.

The discography consists of four studio albums, one remix album, and twenty-two singles, the most recent of which was adownload, released in October 2017, as a precursor to the new album due in February 2018.

I’ve always had a soft spot for this band, having been lucky enough to see them at small venues as well as at an arena gig when they were on the undecard for a Morrissey event in Manchester.

This is a belter of a single from the early days:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Michael

A #17 hit back in 2004.



From Rolling Stone magazine:-

LCD Soundsystem’s tragically nostalgic dance-rock epic ‘All My Friends’ is arguably the best indie-rock song of the ’00s. The B-sides to the single were all cover versions, hinting that the song was a classic the minute it was released.

Scot rockers Franz Ferdinand, who’d already taken bracing, contorted grooves to the pop charts, were born to do ‘All My Friends’ and they turned in an incisive, raging guitar-grinding version with singer Alex Karpanos boozily crooning James Murphy’s forlorn lyrics about losing touch with your friends as you grow older and more ambitious. Musically, they pull of a wonderful trick of interlaying their version with references to legendary post-punk bands like New Order and the Gang of Four that LCD and Franz share as influences. It’s an A-plus history project you can get way down to.

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – All My Friends

It really is a cracking, crackling energetic cover that is among the best things that FF have ever laid down.  But then again, they’re a band who have never shied away from tackling cover versions throughout their career, some without question more successfully than others as evidenced here:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sexy Boy
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Get Up and Use Me
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – What You Waiting For?
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sound and Vision

I’m quite fond of the first two of the four featured above, not convinced by the third as I’ve no time for the original (albeit Mrs Villain is a fan of Gwen Stefani) while the latter is fun enough for the fact that Girls Aloud are on backing vocals!

I never ever got round to mentioning that the FFS project turned out to be one of the best surprises about 2015. The idea of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks combining into a supergroup for an album and live performances didn’t seem like a good idea when first mooted but then I gave the album a listen and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was but that was nothing compared to seeing them perform at the Glasgow Barrowlands which turned out to be a fun-filled and hugely entertaining gig. This was the night when I did truly understand the FF boys were born to do cover versions.

Watch this entire 70 minute performance while you have spare time over the festive period

You can perhaps do it tomorrow when I’m taking a day off blogging. I’ll be back on Saturday with the latest in the re-run of the 45s series

Happy New Year when it comes.



I know….today’s heading is on the cryptic side. But it’s all to do with these three great tunes:-

mp3 : Beastie Boys – Triple Trouble
mp3 : Chic – Good Times (12″)
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

A few years back, someone out there had the idea of mashing these three up. It’s a style and format that has a lot of critics which is understandable as many of its proponents took liberty with one or more of the tracks, speeding it or them up or down a shade to make things fit. But today’s example does work out well with the minimum of jiggery-pokerey.

mp3 : BB.C.FF – Check Me Out 4 Good Times

Freaky Friday indeed.



I’ll often defend Franz Ferdinand if anyone ever has a go at them. For one thing, their 2004 self-titled debut LP remains an excellent and consistent piece of work which deservedly made them not just media darlings but hugely popular with the record-buying public.

But the other thing that I loved about them at that time was their decision to record and release a limited edition 7″ single with Fire Engines, a great Scottish band from the 80s that I have been known to rave about over at the old blog.

It would have been quite easy for Franz Ferdinand to have simply paid lip service to the debt they owed Fire Engines for the spiky guitar sound that they do so well. But instead, they chose to bring a long overlooked act to the wider attention of the public with this particular collaboration which saw a hugely popular FF song covered by FE, and a much-neglected and wonderful FE song given the FF treatment:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Get Up And Use Me
mp3 : Fire Engines – Jacqueline

The single was never intended for general sale, but was available to buy at two gigs in December 1994 when Fire Engines opened for Franz Ferdinand. Sadly, it was a gesture not appreciated by the mob as this review from the time indicates:-

At the first of two hometown gigs to cap their annus mirabilis, they invited their favourite Scottish pop band of yore, The Fire Engines, to reform once more for the occasion. The Edinburgh post-punkers’ set flew right over most of the crowd members’ heads, so plastic beer glasses flew over the band members’ heads.

After a customarily pithy set, dedicated to John Peel “and anyone else who’s dead”, The Fire Engines departed to a chorus of boos, but to the core faithful, the spiky fuzz of Get Up And Use Me, the madly danceable New Things In Cartons and the almost conventionally melodic Meat Whiplash were still a buzz 25 years on.

The thing is, knowing how frontman Davey Henderson’s mind works, he’d have been rather pleased to have got such a reaction from such a mainstream audience….I don’t think he could have coped with being cheered off stage.  I was quite sad and disappointed that I couldn’t get a ticket as I’d have willingly risked injury going down the front and dancing away to the old guys and just as sadly, missing the gig meant I couldn’t get my hands on the tour single.  But then again I wouldn’t have enjoyed the thrill and excitement of seeing a copy for just £3 in a charity shop.

Oh and here’s yer originals:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Get Up And Use Me
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Jacqueline

That’s why they only work when they need the money.


Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 or more at a time from the archives..


(46) Endgames – We Feel Good (Future’s Looking Fine)  b/w Darkness : Mercury Records 7″ (1982)

Read more about Endgames here.


(47) Finley Quaye – Your Love Gets Sweeter (The Abbey Road Version) b/w Your Love Gets Sweeter (Album Version) b/w  Everybody Knows b/w Le Saint Des Delinquents : Epic Records : CD Single (1998)

Read more about Finley Quaye here


(48) Fire Engines –  Big Gold Dream b/w New Thing In Cartons b/w Sympathetic Anaesthetic :  Pop Aural 12″ single (1981)

Read more about Fire Engines here


(49) Foil – Reviver Gene b/w Sedate Me 13th Hour Recordings CD single (1997)

This is where I get pissed off that the old blog was so unceremoniously removed.  While I can get sight of, and cut’n’paste maybe around one-third of the old posts, it turns out that the ones that mean so much are the ones I can’t track down.  So it is with the original words that accompanied the posting on 14 January 2013.  Words penned by Hugh Duggie, the fromt man of Foil and a dear friend of Jacques the Kipper.

Instead you’ll need to make do with this:-

Foil were a guitar-pop band from West Lothian, Scotland; Their original lineup featured vocalist/guitarist Hugh Duggie, guitarist Colin McInally, bassist Shug Anderson, and drummer Jim Anderson. The group played its first gig at London’s Underworld in February 1996 and were immediately signed by 13th Hour, releasing the single “Reviver Gene” in July; however, the song did not really receive much airplay until its re-release in November 1997. The group’s debut album, Spread It All Around, was released in January 1998. In mid-2000, Foil issued follow-up LP Never Get Hip and broke up not long afterwards.

PS : It’s the November re-release that’s been posted. Cracking indie-rock single that has huge American influences…


(50) Franz Ferdinand – Darts Of Pleasure b/w Van Tango b/w  Shopping For Blood : Domino CD single (2003)

I still love this debut single.  The b-sides are also hugely enjoyable and less commercial than the stuff that brought them success.

Parts  51-55 next Saturday…..



As has been widely reported this past week, 66 year old David Bowie has made the twelve-strong shortlist for the 2013 Mercury Prize.  It would therefore seem, as far as the critics and others who make up the Mercury judging panel that his latest LP, The Next Day, is one of the best 12 albums released in the UK this past year.

I can’t say whether this is the case, although I strongly suspect not.  I’m more inclined to think that his inclusion is more to do with giving a high media profile to this year’s award than the merits of what was his 26th studio LP.  The reason that I can’t say for sure is that I’ve given the LP a total bodyswerve, as I have all his new material ever since the travesty that was Tin Machine in the late 80s and early 90s.  If any of you have remained loyal and faithful to his output in recent years, please let me know if in fact the latest LP is worth investing in….after all, I’m going to be bombarded with it on displays any time I venture into any High Street music store between now and the awards ceremony at the end of October.

Bowie is a performer who I’ve long felt ran his course in the mid 80s.  Just about all of his albums from the 70s  have more than stood the test of time  – it should also be recognised just how prolific he was in that decade with an an album in every year except 1978 – but then again there had been two absolute classics in 1977 in the shape of Low and Heroes.  I also remain fond of parts of Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) from 1980.  The worldwide phenomena of Let’s Dance in 1983 was truly something to behold with the production and sound capturing the popular music of the era quite perfectly, albeit it was a long long way away from the music I was listening to.  It’s a recod which made Bowie the #1 box office attraction for a few years – the royalties from the classic rock stations playing the hit singles from that era must still be mega given how often I stumbled upon them during my recent few weeks in Canada.

My admiration for Bowie began to fall away around the time of Live Aid.  Many have said that he was one of the outstanding performers that day but I was disturbed by the fact that out of all his back catalogue he chose to perform Heroes and in a way that seemed congratulatory to all the rock stars who had shown up that day in London and Philadelphia.

What I find interesting about his career, which now spans a jaw-dropping 46 years, is that so many modern musicians cite him as a huge influence and have covered his songs, either in concert or as b-sides or album tracks.  But almost inevitably, these covers are of songs from the 60s and 70s with scant regard to the later material.  And instead of me posting some great songs from the 70s which I’m sure are well-known to all readers of this blog, I thought I’d share some of the covers I’ve most enjoyed:-

mp3 : Black Box Recorder – Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide

mp3 : Vivian Girls – John, I’m Only Dancing

mp3 : Billy Mackenzie – Secret Life of Arabia

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sound & Vision

mp3 : Bauhaus – Ziggy Stardust

Actually, the only reason I’ve included that FF cover is that the dooh-doohs at the start are supplied by Girls Aloud…..very bizarre!

And here’s a cracking acoustic C&W version from Mr Bowie himself:-

mp3 : David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (live and acoustic)