Bring on the Noise Pop.

It's time for our annual dose of young buzz bands, alt-rock icons and indie-pop sensations, all served up on the platter known as the Noise Pop Festival.

This year's gathering of hipster-approved bands runs Tuesday through March 2. Along the way, it will feature more than 80 acts performing at nearly 20 venues, mostly in San Francisco.

That's a lot of Noise -- too much, really, for even the biggest indie-pop fan to handle in just six days. You can't see it all, so here are some shows to put atop your wish list.

Throwing Muses: Kristin Hersh's band is one of the greatest acts in alt-rock history. Indeed, it stands on equal footing -- if not a step or two above -- such fellow 1980s trailblazers as the Pixies, the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr. In a just world, the rare Muses reunion show would fill amphitheaters. Yet, you can see the band at an intimate Noise Pop showcase. Make no mistake, this is the No. 1 show to see at this year's festival. Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 28; Jewish Community Center of San Francisco; $25.

Bob Mould: He's another alt-rock pioneer, who remains best known for his work with the '80s hard-core band Husker Du. Yet, the vocalist-guitarist has also done great work with the '90s act Sugar and on his own solo career. This time around, Mould celebrates the 25th anniversary of his acclaimed solo debut, "Workbook." Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 27; Great American Music Hall, San Francisco; $25.


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Social Studies: This could be the Bay Area's next breakout band. The adventurous indie-rock act definitely has the songs, the sound and the singer (Natalia Rogovin) to take it to stardom. Catch Social Studies now, before the rest of the world does. Details: 9 p.m. Feb. 27; The New Parish, Oakland; $10-$12.

Real Estate: This New Jersey indie-pop troupe can jangle with the best of them. Real Estate should appeal to fans of such "Paisley Underground" movement bands as Dream Syndicate and The Three O'Clock, as well as to those who adore early R.E.M. records. Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 28-March 1; The Independent, San Francisco; $20.

Mark Kozelek: He's a legendary figure on the Bay Area music scene, who first came to fame while leading the Red House Painters in the 1990s and then went on to further acclaim with Sun Kil Moon. He's playing solo at Noise Pop, set to delight fans with his signature blend of folk and indie styles. Details: 8 p.m. March 1; Great American Music Hall; $25-$28.

Some of these shows are already listed as sold out, so you'll need a Noise Pop badge if you decide to attend. More information is at www.noisepop.com.

ON THE BIG SCREEN: Live music is only part of the Noise Pop equation. Another component is the film festival, which is populated by music movies. Here's a look at a trio of highlights from the big-screen bill:

"Mistaken for Strangers": I normally wouldn't rush off to see a tour documentary about The National, one of the most overrated bands of the 21st century. Yet, this sounds like anything but your typical music movie. The focus appears to be on the Berninger brothers, Matt and Tom. The former is the band's increasingly well-known lead singer, while the latter is a budding horror filmmaker. Tom directed this movie, which covers The National's 2010 tour as well as what it's like to live in the shadow of a famous sibling. He'll be on hand after the screening for a Q&A. Details: 7 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 26); Roxie, San Francisco; $10.

"Brothers Hypnotic": Sticking with the sibling theme, we have a movie about the eight brothers in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. They're the sons of anti-establishment jazz icon Phil Cohran, who is best known for playing trumpet in the Sun Ra Arkestra. Their challenge is to do justice to their father's mighty legacy, while not being controlled by it. Details: 7 p.m. Feb. 27; New People Cinema, San Francisco; $10.

"Death Metal Angola": Wilker Flores is a death metal guitarist who believes that the hard-core style can help bring about healing for some of the people living in Angola, a country that was ravaged for decades by war and conflict. Thus, Flores and girlfriend Sonia Ferreira made it their mission to stage Angola's first-ever national rock concert. It may have initially sounded like a quixotic quest, but it eventually turned into so much more -- as you'll see in this uplifting film. A Q-and-A with director Jeremy Xido follows the film. Details: 9 p.m. Feb. 27; New People Cinema; $10

Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic, www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.