|Origin||Dunedin, New Zealand|
|Genres||Post-punk, Dunedin sound|
|Associated acts||The Chills, The Clean, Paul Winders and The Goodness, Herriot Row, Dead C, Able Tasmans|
|Past members||Craig Easton|
The band was named after French poet Paul Verlaine—not, as is occasionally suggested, Tom Verlaine, who also took his stage name from the poet. "I had just been reading some of his poetry," Downes told Paul A. Harris in 1993, "and threw the name at the head of the row, and we thought it sounded cool." Their recorded debut was on the seminal Dunedin Double EP, which was released by Flying Nun Records and was the debut of several bands who would go on to be central to the mythology of the Dunedin sound.
The Verlaines are noted for their angular, "difficult" song structures, wordy and downbeat lyrics, unusual subject matter, all contained in often frantic up-tempo playing. The Verlaines are 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. Downes is an academic at the University of Otago, where he is head of the Department of Music. He teaches contemporary music and has research interests in Mahler and Shostakovich. He has released one solo album, Hammers and Anvils, which came out on Matador Records in 2001.
The group's signature songs include "Death and the Maiden", "C.D. Jimmy Jazz & Me", "Bird-dog" and "Ballad of Harry Noryb."
In 2003, a career retrospective, You're Just Too Obscure for Me, was released.
The Verlaines contributed the soundtrack to the film Eden, collaborating with actor Adetokunbo Adu, and screenwriter Rebecca Tansley. A song from Eden, What Sound is This? appeared on their album Untimely Meditations in 2012.
|Date of Release||Title||Label||Charted||Certification||Catalog Number|
|1985||Hallelujah All the Way Home||Flying Nun/Homestead||-||-||FN040 / HMS138|
|1987||Bird Dog||Flying Nun/Homestead||-||-||FN077 / HMS095|
|1987||Juvenilia||Flying Nun||-||-||FN COMP 02|
|1989||Some Disenchanted Evening||Flying Nun/Homestead||-||-||FN129 / HMS162|
|1991||Ready to Fly||Slash||-||-||C30718|
|1993||Way Out Where||Slash||-||-||D31032|
|1996||Over the Moon||Columbia||-||-||486880.2|
|2003||You're Just Too Obscure for Me||Flying Nun||-||-||FNCD476|
|2007||Pot Boiler||Flying Nun||-||-||FNCD501|
|2012||Untimely Meditations||Flying Nun||-||-||FNCD524|
|1981||Dunedin Double||Flying Nun||-||-||FN DUN1|
|1983||10 O'Clock In The Afternoon||Flying Nun||23||-||FN022|
The group have appeared on several compilations over the years in New Zealand and overseas.
- (1987) – Tuatara: A Flying Nun Compilation (Flying Nun Records) – "Death And The Maiden"
- (1988) – In Love With These Times (Flying Nun) – "Slow Sad Love Song"
- (1991) – Getting Older 1981-1991 (Flying Nun) – "Pyromaniac"
- (1991) – Pink Flying Saucers Over The Southern Alps (Flying Nun) – "The Funniest Thing"
- (1993) – No Alternative (Arista) – "Heavy 33", "Joed Out" (performed by Barbara Manning)
- (1995) – Red Hot + Bothered (Red Hot Organization) – "Some Fantasy" (with Shayne Carter)
- (1999) – Scarfies OST (Flying Nun) – "Death And The Maiden"
|Year||Single||Album||NZ Singles Chart||Certification|
|1983||"Death And The Maiden"||-||-|
|1990||"The Funniest Thing"||Some Disenchanted Evening||-||-|