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The Verlaines


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The origins of New Zealand’s Verlaines can be traced back as early as 1979, with the group’s founder Graeme Downes took direct inspiration from fellow Dunedin group, the Clean to form a band of his own.

It wasn’t until 1981 that the group made their first public appearance with their initial five-piece line-up.

The band have so far released seven full-length albums on three different labels, one mini album, three singles and two compilations.

Their most recent album after a 17 year hiatus from the Flying Nun stable is 2007’s Pot Boiler. In 2008, the group released a free online-downloadable single, Yanghtze Cod & Chips.

The Verlaines were noted for their angular, “difficult” song structures, wordy and downbeat lyrics, unusual subject matter all contained in often frantic up-tempo playing. The Verlaines were led by songwriter and vocalist/guitarist Graeme Downes although many other New Zealand musicians played guitar, bass, drums and brass instruments during the different stages of the band.

These members came from or later joined the likes of the Chills, Snapper, the Same, the Dead C, Trash, the Able Tasmans and Sooty & Sweep to name but seven.

Their signature songs included Death And The Maiden, C.D. Jimmy Jazz & Me, Bird-dog and Ballad of Harry Noryb.

The band’s recorded debut was on the seminal Dunedin Double EP released by Flying Nun Records to debut several bands who would go on to be central to the mythology of the Dunedin Sound.

Downes is an academic at the University of Otago teaching contemporary music and with research interests in Mahler and Shostakovich and has released one solo album, Hammers and Anvils, released on Matador Records in 2001.


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  • johannez1

    They're just amazing. Love them so much!

    16 Jul 2013 Reply
  • CrotchMaven

    Hey, I created a group - "The Verlaines". Feel free to join, as I'm the only member and it's getting lonely.

    21 Sep 2012 Reply
  • munted

    Sweet gig on sat.

    13 Nov 2011 Reply
  • Xenopus

    now that flying nun has been repurchased atleast juvenilia + the first 3 albums are back in print on cd finally.

    29 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Bockop

    They're just too obscure for me.

    28 Apr 2011 Reply
  • xdan

    awesome band. Bird Dog fucking rules.

    5 Apr 2011 Reply
  • _KevMusic_

    They are very, very, very good.

    27 Mar 2011 Reply
  • Fuming_Hume

    мне очень нравится этот птицепёс

    14 Sep 2010 Reply
  • RubberrrBandMan

    Does anyone else think the vocalist sounds similar to the vocalist of Echo and the Bunnymen?

    29 Jul 2010 Reply
  • Dihnekis

    fucking great band

    7 Jul 2010 Reply
  • LunchMeat88

    Bird Dog is seriously one of the best albums i've ever listened to.

    19 Jun 2010 Reply
  • nativewaiter

    Dippy likes smoking cigarettes

    1 May 2010 Reply
  • damnrealb

    tell me about records from dunedin that are better than bird dog (as if there are any)

    29 Apr 2010 Reply
  • Gibbey

    i love this imported german beer, they know how to make it over there! [2]

    17 Apr 2010 Reply
  • LunchMeat88

    The Verlaines are good people.

    6 Apr 2010 Reply
  • NikoKranjcar

    fuckimg brilliant, i feel honoured to have found such a hidden gem

    27 Mar 2010 Reply
  • girlexplosion

    love love love this band

    13 Mar 2010 Reply
  • A_Tamzarian

    i love this imported german beer, they know how to make it over there!

    22 Jan 2010 Reply
  • mandapops

    I just discovered these guys tonight, think I've fallen in love.

    16 Oct 2009 Reply
  • nativewaiter

    Bird-Dog on CD is a bitch to find, but well worth it. The record's easy to come across, though. Good luck.

    8 Mar 2009 Reply
  • All 40 shouts