It was the second-to-last day of SXSW and this one was much like the rest–long, hot, sweaty and filled with sound mishaps and mic malfunctions. The raucous festival crowd at The Sidewinder shifted in the night as Adrian Galvin, known as Yoke Lore, took the stage for his last show. “Yoke Lore played for like 10 seconds,” says JJ Mitchell, of the band Overcoats, “And Hana and I looked at each other and we were like, oh shit… this is something very special.”
It was kismet at South By and the female indie-pop duo promptly texted their manager to offer Galvin the opening slot for their entire tour, which kicks off with an album release show at Rough Trade on Thursday, April 20. The festival itself is known for introducing emerging talent and while the two bands both hail from New York, they had never crossed paths. “Of course everyone at South By is like, ‘Yeah, I’m from Brooklyn too. Oh yeah, I live in Brooklyn too.’ And we’re all in fucking Austin, Texas,” Galvin says.
The two bands will reunite once again locally, to eagerly kick off the two-month tour. The new Overcoats album, YOUNG, will be released on April 21, but fans will be able to purchase the 12-track record the night prior at the Rough Trade show. “We’ve been working on it for I guess like two years now…” Mitchell says, “Everything that we’ve loved ended up on this album. It’s kind of like this story, this journey.”
The journey itself started six years ago, when the two girls met in their first year of college at Wesleyan University. Music was always a part of Elion and Mitchell’s relationship, and the two could be found singing in doorways around campus, but the turning point came in their senior year when they started writing songs together. “Music was this thing that we had together that sort of helped us through this transformation of leaving college, ending relationships and figuring out who we wanted to be in the world,” Mitchell says.
Overcoats was born. Elion and Mitchell self-released their first EP after graduation in 2015 and moved to Dublin: “We wanted to have an adventure, go somewhere where we could play live a lot and really hone in on our craft,” Elion says. YOUNG includes the four songs from their original EP, albeit revised, and several new “electronic hymns” that showcase their melodic vocals and deep harmonies.
“We strive towards a Simon & Garfunkel sound with our vocals,” Elion says, “And Yoke Lore does folktronica as well, but in a really different cool way.” His sound, encompassing electronic drums, banjo and synth, paired with his unusually high voice make for a sonically fascinating live show. Elion and Mitchell couldn’t take their eyes off of him at SXSW.
Galvin’s résumé reads like an art school course manual, drawing on dance, painting, photography and, of course, music. The New York native’s former projects include Walk the Moon, and Yellerkin, but he released his first EP Far Shore under the moniker Yoke Lore in 2015. This is Galvin’s latest project and first solo endeavor.
“It’s forced me to go a little bit further than I would have gone with someone else – in the songwriting and in the ways in which I approach my personal history and the subjects I choose to write about,” he says. “I have this idea that the more specific you get about yourself when you write, the more universal your experience can become or can be perceived as.”
The Yoke Lore project is storytelling at its heart, as Galvin reflects on relationships between people, places and things on a deeper level, with evocative and thoughtful lyrics. His latest single, “World Wings,” draws on the pressure of responsibility and the necessary perseverance when things get tough. In this way, Overcoats and Yoke Lore have a similar aesthetic and vision, despite their different sounds. More new music can be expected from Yoke Lore, leading up to the release of a sophomore EP later this year.
A second local show has been added at Mercury Lounge on April 21 due to popular demand and Yoke Lore will also open for Shura at Bowery Ballroom on April 25.
Correction: The original version of this story was revised to correct the day of the first Mercury Lounge show; 4/20 is a Thursday.