The Dunedin Sound

I’m currently living in the university town of Dunedin in the south island of New Zealand. Population: 126,000. This population fluctuates dramatically during the year attributing a transient nature to the place. The port-city thrives on tourism from incoming cruise ships and students  injecting much needed cash over the notoriously long, cold winter semester.

It’s surprising in such a transient city that arguably some of the best bands in New Zealand form and thrive in Dunedin.

The Dunedin Sound is a scholarly term ( no really, they offer varsity courses on this thing) for an indie-pop music movement that occurred in Dunedin during the 1980s. The words “lo-fi”, “jingly-jangly” and “college rock” get thrown around in association with Dunedin Sound bands such as The Clean, The Chills and The Verlaines.



Even today, amazing Dunedin musicians can be seen rolling durries outside cafes, in op shops or talking by the Leith – a river that runs through Otago University. The same southern-New Zealand vocals, the familiar jingly-jangly guitar and clever lyrics full of Dunedin inside jokes are notable in such current bands as Brown, Males and Julian Temple Band (who are currently touring the States).

 Keep an eye on the Dunedin Sound bands. They’re not going anywhere.


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