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All Points West 2009: Five Acts to Watch

July 30, 2009 8:47 AM ET

New Jersey's answer to Coachella, All Points West, is mere days away. Before you hit the ferry, check out our picks for five of the fest's sure-fire breakout acts. Get all our recommended sets here.

Cage the Elephant
Stage: Blue Comet
Set Time: Saturday, 2:15-3:05 p.m.
This Kentucky-based quartet scored a solid hit this year with the blues-rock blast "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," a sharply written travelogue about a loner who goes searching for redemption but instead ends up chatting with hookers and getting mugged at gunpoint. Loose, rowdy and with virtuousic guitar licks that could be mistaken for Jack White, Cage the Elephant's tunes are exactly what you'd want to hear on a soused summer afternoon.

The Postelles
Stage: Queen of the Valley
Set Time: Saturday, 4:30-5:10 p.m.
Last year, this New York quartet teamed up with the Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr. for their debut single "123 Stop." And guess what? It totally sounds like the Strokes — crunchy guitar riffs, massive power pop beat, slacker vocals that sound funneled through a tin can — and that's definitely a good thing. Expect to hear a bunch of new cuts from their long-in-the-making major-label debut. Caveat: The Postelles aren't exactly road warriors; this is one of the biggest shows they've played yet.

Akron/Family
Stage: Bullet
Set Time: Sunday, 4:30-5:20 p.m.
This Williamsport, Pennsylvania crew started out as an experimental folk rock outfit, but with their latest album Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free, Akron/Family emerge from the woods to deliver a set of amped-up, downright danceable grooves, particularly on the stunning sing-a-long "Everyone Is Guilty," which mixes tribal beats with fierce Jimmy Page-style guitar riffage. They haven't totally ditched their ponderous, folky side: tracks like the mellifluous "Set 'Em Free, Pt. 1" will sound great in underneath the hot afternoon sun.

La Roux
Stage: Queen of the Valley
Set Time: Sunday, 6:20-7:10 p.m.
La Roux are a British synth-pop duo who have broken out as one of the buzziest acts in their homeland this year. Fronted by androgynous redhead Elly Jackson, La Roux turn out stylish, ass-shaking new wave on killer cuts like "Bulletproof" and "In for the Kill," which would sound perfect on the soundtrack for the next James Bond flick.

Seasick Steve
Stage: Blue Comet
Set Time: Friday, 2:20 p.m.
Seasick Steve broke out earlier this year thanks to a spot on Britain's influential Jools Holland Show. But he isn't another flash-in-the-pain indie-rock artist — he's a grizzled, seventy-something journeyman who delivers stark autobiographical narratives while cranking out fuzzed-out slide-guitar blues. (Fans of Morphine and Presidents of the United States will dig his minimal style of playing on a three-string junk-shop guitar.) APW's dark horse act for sure.

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