At the best little record store in Reykjavík, indie doesn’t necessarily mean small t-shirts. Just great coffee, impeccable manners, and the occasional autographed Lionel Ritchie album.
If you’re looking for some fine Icelandic music, a selection of Icelandic presidential portraits, some damn fine coffee, or simply capitalism with a human face, go to directly to the 12 Tónar record store on Skólavörðustígur in Reykjavík.
Owned by Jóhannes Ágústsson and some guy who looks like Schostakovich (pictured here, having just caught a shoplifter), 12 Tónar is probably the best indie record store in Reykjavík — proving that indie isn’t just shorthand for really small t-shirts.
At 12 Tónar you can find all those lovely Icelandic artists and bands you love so much, and others you haven’t heard of yet, but will learn to love eventually. And we don’t just mean you can find their records there — some of them actually work in the store.
In addition to the music, the espresso, the free internet, the highly presentable staff, and an actual cabinet of curiosities, they have free in-store shows every other Friday afternoon, featuring local talent that’s not even employed there and some actual free booze (sometimes).
But they don’t just sell the stuff, they produce it too (the music that is, not the booze). On their 12 Tónar label are people like Apparat Organ Quartet, Eivør Pálsdóttir, The Funerals, Jakobínarína, Singapore Sling, Trabant, and Stórsveit Nix Noltes.
And to top it all, they just opened a branch in Copenhagen too.
Who said nice guys finish last?