So, what band best represents the city in which it formed? You be the judge.
(Scroll down to vote.)
This week – the Edinburgh of the South – Dunedin.
Dunedin is famed for its brooding weather, Scots heritage and for being a university town, and perhaps all these things combine to make a perfect storm for what's known as the "Dunedin Sound".
But just what is the Dunedin sound? Well, it's probably best typified by Flying Nun – the independent record label that found success in the 80s with bands such as The Clean, The Chills and Straitjacket Fits. It's characterised by jangly guitar strumming, minimal bass lines and some good old-fashioned drumming.
Unkind people may say the lo-fi recording techniques also help to give it its distinctive sound – but whatever the secret, it's beloved by Kiwis and student radio stations around the world.
In the late 70s local bands were influenced by punk music acts like The Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop and this particular genre soon made its way onto New Zealand stages. One of the earlier Dunedin bands to infuse a local flavour into this post-punk genre was The Clean. Headed by the two Kilgour brothers, Hamish and David, the band's debut single Tally Ho was recorded for a lean $60 and became instrumental in establishing the Flying Nun label.
Extra bonus points for being widely described as the most influential band to come out of the Flying Nun stable.
Watch 'Tally Ho' here:
Contemporaries of the Kilgour brothers were The Chills. Arguably, the most recognisable of the so-called Dunedin sound, The Chills have been a mainstay of New Zealand indie pop music since the early eighties. Singer/songwriter Martin Phillipps is the sole constant member of the group, which has seen more than 20 line-up changes in its time. The UK Guardian newspaper once described the trinity of Pink Frost, Heavenly Pop Hit and I Love My Leather Jacket as a "series of brilliant singles".
Extra bonus points for Martin Phillipps managing to not get swept away by a rogue wave in the making of Heavenly Pop Hit.
Watch the video here:
Another staple in the Flying Nun stable were Straitjacket Fits. The trio burst on to the music scene in the late eighties and quickly captured the public's attention with their single She Speeds. The unlikely melding of Shayne Carter's snarling sonic edge and Andrew Brough's pop instincts saw world domination hailed as imminent. In 1992 Melody Maker called them the weirdest and best guitar band in the world. After Hail, Melt and Brough-less third album Blow, they disbanded in 1994.
Extra bonus points for Shayne Carter's awesome half-mullet hairdo in the She Speeds video.
Watch the video here:
Dunedin has always had a reputation for being a little off the wall. Take Mother Goose as a very good example. Before the Flying Nun staples, Mother Goose was the most successful band to emerge from Dunedin. Their mad-cap image and on-stage antics blended mid-1970s rock'n'roll theatricality with a nursery sensibility built around characters that included a sailor, a bumble-bee, a ballerina and a nappy-clad baby. Their biggest hit, the novelty song Baked Beans, threatened to overwhelm their more serious music and a career which ran to three albums.
Extra bonus points for the sly nod to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody video in Mother Goose's Baked Beans.
Watch the video here:
But if chart success is the criteria on how best to measure a band -then surely the Netherworld Dancing Toys must be strong contenders. Formed at Otago University, with a name borrowed from a Roxy Music lyric, Netherworld Dancing Toys released their early records on Flying Nun – but their soul/Motown influences and brass section were an odd fit for the label famous for alternative pop. For Today, their career defining song, was released on Virgin in 1985.
Extra bonus points for featuring guest vocalist Annie Crummer to devastating effect in For Today.
But in terms of intellectual coolness, nothing comes close to The Verlaines. Formed by singer/guitarist Graeme Downes in 1981, the band's songwriting features shifting tempos, eclectic instruments, and mentions of Nietzsche as well as the eponymous French poet Paul Verlaine. These days Downes has a PhD and lectures at Otago. As with many Flying Nun bands of the era, The Verlaines won international recognition for their work.
Extra bonus points for working the name Verlaine more than 15 times into the chorus of Death and the Maiden.
And last but perhaps not least – this band may be fictitious, but it pulls off the ubiquitous Dunedin sound as well as any real 80s band. Dreamed up by the Funny Business comedy show, the band is named The Flu and features an array of typical Dunedin bandmates – Hamish, Justin, Richard and Jean-Paul. The dismal video for their song My Black Jumper is comedy gold.