The final four ties have been getting played out all week against an increasing anticipation that we really are getting to the business end of the tournament.
Lemonheads 8 v Prefab Sprout 28
Julian Cope 11 v The Housemartins 26
The Pixies 12 v Billy Bragg 23
Ride 33 v Asian Dub Foundation 4
Condolences if all of your favourites have now been eliminated, but there’s still time to latch onto one of the remaining sides to cheer on from the terraces.
I’ve made the full draw for the last 32 and the matches will be played in the order they came out the hat. It proved to be a relatively fortunate draw in that none of the sides who were involved last week came out in the first four games and so get a well-earned rest. You’ll also spot that all of the first four games of Round 3 fall into the intriguing category but don’t offer match-ups that will make for sleepless nights mulling over the options. But trust me, there’s plenty of that to come with a number of the real big guns having to take one another on…..all of which opens things up for some so-called lesser lights to keep allegedly unlikely runs going.
This week does see a high proportion of sides from Merseyside…..
Round 3 : Matches 1-4
The Durutti Column v Echo & The Bunnymen
Manchester v Liverpool….and not for the first time this week.
Vini Reilly has thus far seen off two cult acts from Scotland but this is, without question, a real step up in class for him. He’s likely going to have to field one of his strongest bits of music and preferably one that isn’t too noodly and so ends up appealing to folk beyond his small but dedicated fan base. Turns out, according to strictly rockers who was the author of the original ICA, that it is “Probably the best-known DC song complete with Martin Hannett‘s sampled birdsong.”
McCulloch & co. have already been tested strongly and fought through, with surprising ease, in tough looking ties against Lenny Cohen and EBTG, with the latter being seen off by a live song which was loved and loathed in equal measures. Perhaps complacency could be their biggest enemy….but looking at the song that’s come out, they’re showing that this is being taken seriously. Very seriously
Sketch For Summer (from Return Of…, 1980) v The Killing Moon (from Ocean Rain, 1984)
The Police v Pete Wylie
Something tells me that Pistol Pete, the self-acclaimed “part-time pop star and full-time legend” will be relishing this match-up and will spend the entire build-up badmouthing his opponents, particularly Sting who will be accused of turning his back on his working-class origins and the shipbuilding town he was born in. The media will be stoking the fires too….
After a comfortable win in Round 1, Pete Wylie produced his ace card to ensure he progressed against PJ Harvey who was tipped by a few pundits as a possible overall winner and he’s up against a side who, although not hugely popular in the overall scheme of things, have a knack of fielding a terrific pop tune that has seen themn rack up more than 50 goals in seeing off Captain Beefheart and The Stranglers. The coin and dice combo will be critical….
Weekends (from A Word to the Wise Guy, 1984) v Roxanne (from Outlandos D’amour, 1978)
XTC v Half Man Half Biscuit
This is one of those ties that I think is, before the songs are pulled out, almost impossible to predict. If there’s two things I’ve learned in all the years of doing this blog they are that almost all readers like XTC and almost all readers love Half Man Half Biscuit. There’s a case to be argued that all three of the songwriters deserve national treasure status in the UK.
XTC have two ICAs to choose from, one which is dedicated to songs by Andy Partridge, whose contributions have been used in the first two rounds to see off two of my own favourites in Friends Again followed by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. This time round its the Colin Moulding ICA from which the song will be chosen which could be bad news for Nigel Blackwell and co, although they do have potential gems of their own to offer
Grass (from Skylarking, 1986) v Joy Division Oven Gloves (from Achtung Bono, 2005)
The Charlatans v OMD
I think both bands will be pleased with this draw and will be quietly confident of progressing….they’ve done well to tip-toe their way through the previous rounds with The Charlatans seeing off The Mekons and Carter USM while OMD have proven to be too good for Super Furry Animals and The Stone Roses, although both losers were guilty of fielding weaker songs than they are famed for.
The home side have already fielded what are arguably their two best known songs while the away side still have some top-notch 45s to offer up. Once again, the coin and dice will play their part:-
Can’t Get Out Of Bed (from Up To Our Hips, 1994) v Enola Gay (from Organisation, 1980)
Some really good and enjoyable tunes to listen to this week…voting closes at 10pm on Friday 13 April.