Counter Intelligence

Human Head

60 minsFirst aired 3 May 2019
Maxwell Schiano

Step into an always-open Brooklyn vinyl den, a community where an array of top sounds are in abundance 365 days a year.

If you pass by Human Head Records and see the lights on at an hour when most retail operations would be closed, just knock. Chances are good that you’ll be welcomed in for a hang and a dig, because this Bushwick, Brooklyn, shop literally takes no days off, holidays included. Given the sheer volume of quality, cross-genre used vinyl that passes through its doors, Human Head can’t really afford the down time. But it’s also true that co-owners Travis Klein and Steve Smith just enjoy cultivating a clubhouse environment, where the musical discoveries and refreshments continually flow. It’s that vibe that initially attracted Shawn Dub and Phil Lembke – two regular customers and respected DJs around town who’d been hanging out at the shop so much that Klein wound up bringing them on as staff. Today, Shawn Dub and Phil Lembke run down a few of the choice tracks (afro-funk, dub reggae, Brazilian, classic hip-hop) and tell some stories key to the store’s past and present, including the time they reunited DJ Spinna with a record someone “borrowed” from him decades ago, and Shawn’s most recent Christmas Day just hanging out at the shop.


Interview by Jeff Mao
Produced by Jordan Rothlein and Jeff Mao
Engineered by Denis Hürter and Roland Dill

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