Calling all vinyl enthusiasts – there’s a new record store in town! Located on Johnson Ave and Graham Ave, Human Head may have just what you’ve been looking for, at just the right price. We talked to Travis Klein, co-owner of the new shop, and took a visit to see it for ourselves. Spoiler alert: We were definitely pleasantly surprised by what we found.
Travis Klein, 33, originally from a small town in Wisconsin, has always had a passion for collecting records. Although, it wasn’t until his plans took a turn about a year and a half ago that he really considered records being a part of his future. “I was unemployed and was staring at all these records I had…so I put them online and started selling them,” Travis told us.
It was then that Travis and his friend Steve Smith, in the restaurant business, came up with the idea to open a record store. Steve, who has lived in Bushwick for about three years, happened to see that the storefront was available on June 20; by July 1 Human Head had officially moved in. The location was “close and convenient for us because it was close to him. It was kind of a perfect scenario,” Travis mused, “[we really] fell into this.” Travis now lives in Bushwick as well and has found the growing neighborhood to be a good fit so far. “You can’t find a better place to sell records in, with a group of vinyl enthusiasts who yearn for great record stores,” he told us.
So what makes Human Head different? “The way we go about doing it. Just from my collecting experience, it was always hard for me to find the classic essential records from all the great bands – The Beatles, The Stones, The Doors, classic rock stuff…So we thought if we could bring those records to the city, we would have the right formula.” And that’s exactly what they did. Travis went back to Wisconsin, hooked a trailer to his Nissan Altima, loaded it with 3,000 records, and drove them back.
All the hard work, and miles logged, shows when you visit Human Head. Two mannequin heads twirl on record players in the window and many more look down from all around the shop. Boxes of records line the walls, separated by genre and price. Overall, Human Head offers lots of classic rock, but also a good collection of indie, alternative and even some jazz and soul, among others. And if you’re on a budget, make sure to look through the $3 and $5 bins for some thrifty treasures.
“We really try to be the opposite of the stereotypical pretentious record store owner. We kind of have a positive vibe,” Travis explained. They hope that Human Head will be a go-to hangout spot for Bushwick music lovers. A whiteboard on the wall lists upcoming shows in NYC worth checking out and the guys have thrown a comfy couch and chair into the space for customers to relax in until the back half of the store is built out. (Also, word on the street is the store has both a bathroom and a kegerator. We’re just sayin’…)
They hope to build a relationship with their customers and community, and they want to help record collectors find what they’re missing. Travis told us, “I’m interested in hearing what they have to say, if [customers] can educate me on particular titles…and if someone is looking for something, I’m happy to go hunt.”
So go do it! Drop by Human Head and let them know what you loved and what you’d like to see – and hear – more of. Happy record shopping!
Human Head is located at 168 Johnson Ave. It is open every day from noon-8PM (closed on Wednesdays).