SXSW 2005 PREVIEW (3 of 4)

Selected profiles of noteworthy acts that will perform during this year's South by Southwest Music & Media Conference March 16-20 in Austin, Texas: Phoenix, Little Birdy, Wolfmother and Martha Wai

Selected profiles of noteworthy acts that will perform during this year's South by Southwest Music & Media Conference March 16-20 in Austin, Texas. The full roster of performing artists is available at SXSW.com.

PHOENIX: The sophisticated Parisian pop-dance group first attracted international attention with the album "United" in 2000, particularly for its single "If I Ever Feel Better." The act is, at last, on the cusp of its sophomore studio album, "Alphabetical," which it will introduce imminently with the single "Run Run Run." The American release of the album, by Astralwerks, comes swiftly on the heels of a live album, "Thirty Days Ago," and will include an enhanced CD portion on the making of the new studio set. Phoenix's appearance at SXSW will introduce an American tour, followed by European shows in the spring.

LBLITTLE BIRDY: West Australian band Little Birdy is fronted by Katy Steele, the 20-year-old sister of Luke Steele of the Sleepy Jackson. The group hit the top five at home last October with "BigBigLove," released by Eleven Music, and the act is at the forefront of this year's SXSW presence from West Australia. Phil Tripp, coordinator of the Australian Trade Commission, says the region has become a "rich nurturing ground" for artists because of the regional government's support for contemporary music. West Australia is also home to major Australian act the John Butler Trio, which returns to SXSW this year. Almost immediately after playing in Austin, Little Birdy and the Butler trio will appear in a March 23 Australian showcase at the Mercury Lounge in New York.

WOLFMOTHER: Unsigned in the United States, Australian rock three-piece Wolfmother has built its local buzz through gigs and the September 2004 release of a self-titled EP at home on ChaosMusic. Fronted by vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale, the trio has won comparisons with the rock sound of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Wolfmother warmed up for SXSW with a series of shows under the "Big Day Out" banner in late January and early February in Sydney (the band's home town), Melbourne and elsewhere. The EP received a U.K. release on V2 on March 7 on both CD and 12-inch vinyl.

MWMARTHA WAINWRIGHT: While her brother Rufus was earlier out of the traps in terms of widespread recognition, another member of the family dynasty shows every sign of making 2005 her year. Martha Wainwright, now 28, was born in Montreal but now lives in New York and is putting in plenty of road work behind her self-titled debut set for Drowned In Sound. A February tour of the United Kingdom is followed by her SXSW appearance and a Leonard Cohen tribute tour of Australia with Rufus, her mother Kate McGarrigle, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton and others.