South by Southwest's Breakout Band

This month marked the 20th anniversary of South by Southwest, Austin’s schmooze-and-booze music marathon where hot unsigned acts (like Tapes ‘N Tapes) and boldfacers (Neil Young) turn out in droves. But of the more than 1,300 artists present, Australian fuzz-rock trio Wolfmother were most often hailed as the Next Cool Thing. ”We played five shows in four days,” marvels Afroed frontman Andrew Stockdale. ”I had to go to bed fairly early.” Wolfmother’s label, Interscope — who signed them after last year’s fest — toiled to ensure the band’s omnipresence. ”They had a really good setup [from their label],” says SXSW creative director Brent Grulke. ”That kind of buzz takes work beforehand.” To boot, the label even went so far as to buy infomercial time on late-night local TV to promote the group. Hey, if it keeps Ron Popeil off the air…