Silent Rival: Joz Ramirez, Sara Coda and Yutaka Sao.EXPAND
Silent Rival: Joz Ramirez, Sara Coda and Yutaka Sao.
Photo by Justin Fox

Southern California Alt-Rock Band Silent Rival Cuts to the Chase

Silent Rival is a rising band from Southern California with an edgy alt-rock aesthetic and an inclination to experiment with various genres. For example, the band's new single, "Just One Voice," begins with a swinging rockabilly rhythm that gives way to a hard-hitting, headbanging chorus. And as evidenced by her lyrics, frontwoman Sara Coda apparently wants to wield her power in a socially conscious way. She sings, "While you were sleeping in/The world you know has changed/We’re tearing down these walls/Leaving no room for hate/My mike is loaded in my hand."

Coda declines to translate her lyrics for New Times, however, because she doesn't want to force-feed the message to listeners. She believes the content speaks for itself.

"I know that people listening have a general idea of what the message is," she says. "It's pretty clear. Whatever makes that song relatable for you, that's what it's about."

Silent Rival will perform at 26 Degree Brewing Company in Pompano this Friday, May 25, for 104.3 the Shark's On the Horizon concert series. The trio comprises three Los Angeles-area musicians: Coda (vocals), Joz Ramirez (guitar), and Yutaka Sao (bass). Coda writes the songs with Ramirez, whom she describes as "legit my favorite artist." And she feels similarly about Sao — she admired his playing ability even before they were bandmates. "I guess that's one thing that brings us together, that I'm seriously their biggest fan," she says.

Coda and Ramirez knew they had complementary skills prior to forming Silent Rival. Specifically, Ramirez's guitar shredding pairs well with Coda's high-energy vocals.

"We have very different influences, but we overlap in really fundamental ways," Coda says. "We both like music that's upbeat and dancey, but still rock — not dance music."

As a singer, Coda draws more from soul and R&B than rock. "A lot of classic rock was influenced by old-school R&B," she says. "And I feel like the best singers were old-school R&B. So as a singer, it's my duty to know that genre of music."

The two began writing and recording together in a different, now-defunct band in Los Angeles. As members quit and got fired, the sound changed. "So we decided to start over and call it something different," Coda says. The product turned out to be Silent Rival's debut album, The Kindness of Strangers (2017). Once the recording was complete, they added Sao to round out the group. 

Now they sound like they have a crystal-clear idea of themselves as musicians; there's very little wasted motion on Silent Rival songs, instrumentally or lyrically. They get to the point.

Silent Rival. 8 p.m. Friday, May 25, at 26 Degree Brewing Co., 2600 E Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach; 954-532-6964; 26brewing.com. Admission is free.

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