The plaintive, percolating, drawing-room rock of the Verlaines was formed in far-off Dunedin, New Zealand, a remote town in a country whose name is synonymous with remoteness. Strangely enough, Dunedin has produced a refreshingly eccentric alternative rock scene, including the exquisite Chills and a number of other reputedly worthwhile bands. The Verlaines, a three-piece outfit led by singer-songwriter and free-lance surrealist Graeme Downes, play elegantly textured songs with the timeless instrumental feel of the Velvets or the Feelies. In these shows, his first appearances in the States (I saw an early show a couple of weeks ago), Downes is a bit shy, but the passion of his songs brings him out of his shell; he’s helped by a pretty crack rhythm section, particularly drummer Robbie Yates. Today, 4 PM, Reckless Records, 3157 N. Broadway; 4045080. Tonight, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.