DJ Roger’s Record Club is back

No passwords or secret handshakes needed to enjoy DJ Roger’s indie-pop series

The Hot Toddies will fight over who gets to be queen of Record Club this Saturday.

The Hot Toddies will fight over who gets to be queen of Record Club this Saturday.

It’s just after 5 p.m. and the Blue Lamp, the venerable live-music venue on Alhambra Boulevard in Midtown, isn’t open yet. But Roger Carpio (also known as DJ Roger) is already there and invites me in. No secret knock necessary.

Blue Lamp’s changed over the years. Floor-to-ceiling art now hangs on the club’s once dark walls in the back—this month concert-poster designers Johnny Flores and Laura Edmisten are showing—and what was once a “champagne room” back in the day is now a remodeled and chill lounge that faces the stage.

And more than the ambience has changed: Carpio’s back doing Record Club again—only this time at Blue Lamp.

“I started Record Club about three years ago. I wanted it to be a pop lounge where I could play some old/new indie-pop bands that I have been getting into,” Carpio recalls of his club’s beginnings. Back in 2006, he asked a friend to deejay with him every other Sunday at The Press Club in between the local and touring pop bands’ sets. The concept caught fire, and Sunday afternoons at the Press grew into the summertime to-do.

But like all good things, Record Club came to an end—or so everyone thought. This weekend, from Thursday to Saturday, Carpio will deejay between Record Club performances.

Pop music also has evolved in the past year. When Carpio began Record Club, he was—as they say—a bit ahead of his time. That is, the music scene and Sacramento’s appreciation for indie pop was a bit lag. But now, what with the success of national bands like Vivian Girls and even Northern California acts like Nodzzz, there’s a greater enthusiasm for local and touring pop bands.

Johnny Flores’ hand-inked Record Club poster for Saturday.

Carpio said he started doing shows again in part because of this indie-pop resurgence. He notes a club in London, Twee As Fuck, which has been doing great shows of late and features all the bands that pass through on its Web site (

And Record Club is Sacramento’s indie-pop haven. Here’s a taste of this week’s bands:

The Parson Red Heads, who’ve been to town before, headline Thursday night. Their brand of guitar pop and keyboard, like a lot of indie pop these days (and even psych pop like Animal Collective), owes a lot to retro influences. “A lot of bands I like have a ’60s pop influence,” Carpio notes, pointing out the ubiquitous “jangly guitars” and “quirky, innocent lyrics.”

“A lot of the bands I like use the same influences the Smiths had, or are influenced somewhat by them,” he explains.

Opening for the Parson Red Heads are Southern California husband-wife pop duo the Monolators, who owe a lot to oldies and that ’50s rock vibe.

On Friday, locals the English Singles and Baby Grand will open for Still Flyin’, the San Francisco-based retro group whose soul-infused tracks hearken to epic ’70s pop anthems. Carpio says he’s been trying to get the band to Sacramento for a while. “I would bug them once every four months asking about a show. They finally gave in!” he laughs.

On Saturday, local trio Agent Ribbons headlines for out-of-towners the Ian Fays. The Hot Toddies, who open on Saturday, are four Oakland women who weave ’50s surfer rock and strange harmonies while singing about HTML and wet dreams (sample lyric: “He scraped his knee, and now I jerked him off and rubbed his back for free”). It’s crafty, kitsch and fun, a bit more so than popular bands such as Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but pop goodness all the same.

It’s chew-some-gum-while-sipping-cocktails indie. It’s Record Club. And, as they say: You. Are. Invited.