If you trust viral listicles and industry insider books—and who wouldn’t—then trust and believe local record shop 12 Tónar is the world’s greatest record store. Sit down Amoeba Records!
The accolade was given by self-described ‘journalist and crate-digger’ Marcus Barnes, who recently compiled the 80 best record shops on the planet into one book. Marcus then published his 10 favourites online on NME, which is where we were made aware of this incredible honour.
The Reykjavík institution is known for its incredible selection of local musicians and older Icelandic efforts. Not only is it run by Icelandic artists, but those working there are so knowledgeable about music, they’ll hand select records for you based on your taste. In the basement, they have couches with CD players and headphones, so it’s basically a late 90s Sam Goody, which was the place-to-be at the time. Bring your friends, it’ll be sick!
That said—we must note that Grapevine has been on the 12 Tónar hype train long before NME. While they didn’t make the 2018 iteration, they were the runner up for Best Record Store in the Grapevine’s Best of Reykjavík 2017 awards and have graced numerous Grapevine city guides.
Silver’s good, too
But 12 Tónar is not just a first place winner as determined by NME, they also won second place on BuzzFeed’s “27 Breathtaking Record Stores You Have To Shop At Before You Die.” While Icelanders might not necessarily be used to first place—just read past iterations of this column—they are very comfortable with second place, just ask the handball team and Eurovision star Jóhanna Guðrún.
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