Featuring Bailey Winters on vocals, John Zeigler on keyboard and programming and Patrick Morris on guitar, drum machine and bass, Portland's Strength creates disco music that sounds like your middle school vice principal with the slightly longish hair taking off his glasses, unbuttoning at least three buttons on his shirt and letting loose just as you thought he would because you've always suspected he has a funky side. They're ready to drop their new CD 'Mind-Reader,' party music for serious party people - do not go unless you are prepared to unleash your inner strobe and ditch your outer uptightness.
Strength, Fake Drugs, DJ Copy, DJ Patricia Furpurse, 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, Holocene, 1001 S.E. Morrison St. $5. Info: 503-239-7639, www.holocene.org/calendar/ .
Pop you can believe in
Portland's Little Beirut are earnest power-popsters, creating tight, deceptively simple and lightly orchestrated up-tempo and midtempo indie rock that shimmers, shakes, soars and sings. The quartet - Hamilton Sims on vocals and guitar, Edwin Paroissien on guitar and vocals, Alex Inman on drums and vocals, and John Hulcher on bass - is about to release a whole new batch of pop rock songs called 'Fear of Heaven.' You can check out the band's nifty stop-action animated video for the CD's first single, 'Last Light,' on YouTube.
Little Beirut, Hello Morning, 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. Info: 503-493-3600, www.thesecretsocietylounge.com .
With a rebel yell
Combining psychedelia, roots and rock and hailing from Athens, Ga., Dead Confederate belie their name, owing as much to the chiming rock of '80s and '90s post-punk rock and the crawl of grunge as they do to any southern sounds you might hear amidst their anthemic tunes. Like Kings of Leon, they're attempting to invent something new by sifting through the echoes of past stadium rockers, pub blasters, half-Goths and full-on Radioheads. Gloriously semi-drunken sounding balladeers and rockers Alberta Cross join them as well as y'allternative roots rockers Futurebirds.
Dead Confederate, Alberta Cross, Futurebirds, 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6, Doug Fir, 830 E. Burnside St. $13 in advance, $15 day of show. Info: 503-231-WOOD, www.dougfirlounge.com .
Few bands scream 'FUN!' quite like Japanese pop-punksters Shonen Knife. In fact, the band is about to release an English language version of its 2007 album 'fun! fun! fun!' Sporting competent rock 'n' roll chops and charming broken English stage banter, the all-female band combines kitsch and kindness, humor and life-of-the-party feel in an irresistibly danceable package that also serves to remind punk fans that the Ramones' bubblegum and surf influences were as important to sparking the musical insurgency of 1977 as much as the Sex Pistols' bile and bitterness.
Shonen Knife, The Minus 5, Hosannas, People Eating People, 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St., 503-288-3985, www.mississippistudios.com.
Sept. 10 and 11
At the hop
Runaway Productions and Vinyl Fluid Records have put together a banner NW Hip Hop Fest featuring a score of area acts, including Dark Time Sunshine, Mic Crenshaw, Suicide Kings, Raise the Bridges, Rose Bent and DJ Fatboy. The talent ranges from live hop bands with all those instruments rockers and pop heads like as well more traditional (yes, at this point, you can say that) hip hop acts with deejays and turntablismatics. It's a buffet of beat-attitudinal blessings.
NW Hip Hop Fest, 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, Saturday, Sept. 11, Slabtown, 1033 N.W. 16th Ave. $6 each night, 21 and older. Info: 503-223-0099, www.myspace.com/slabtownbar .