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Critic’s picks: Pop music

Isaac Brekken

JAMES MCCARTNEY Yes, that McCartney. But if you look past the surname, the young singer-songwriter has plenty to offer on his own with a familiar but solid brand of winsome pop. The early show is sold out but the late show still has seats. May 20, 9:30 p.m. Club Passim. Tickets: $15. 617-492-7679, www.clubpassim.org

PITBULL & KE$HA This headscratcher of a double bill sounds like a sitcom waiting to happen. Expect Pitbull to bark out dancefloor dominators like “Don’t Stop the Party” and “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” and Ke$ha (inset) to pour on the glittery party girl pop of tunes like “TiK ToK” and “Die Young.” May 23, 7:30 p.m. Comcast Center. Tickets: $40-$155. 800-745-3000, www.livenation.com

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THE THERMALS Be sure to caffeinate before you hit the dancefloor in Cambridge because these Portland rockers aim to get you moving with their gleefully dirty, in-your-face insistent garage pop. Touring in support of their most recent album “Desperate Ground,” it should be an energetic night. May 23, 8 p.m. The Sinclair. Tickets: $15. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

THE DARLINGS These Boston mainstays were country rock before country rock was cool, and they remain cool as ever. Simon and Kelly and the boys are part of a great night of vibrant torch and twang from local rock veterans that includes former Shods/Pills member Dave Aaronoff and the Protagonists — whose four night residency at the club kicks off with this show — and rockabilly ravers the Invaders. May 25, 9 p.m. Lizard Lounge. Tickets: $10. 617-547- 0759, www.lizardloungeclub.com

Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com.
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