There are several excellent record shops in Reykjavik. I try to visit them all whenever I am in town. I head straight for the Icelandic Music sections hoping to find something that’s hard to get in England. Most of the shops do not open early so don’t rush there first thing.
Lucky Records has an enormous stock of new and second hand records and you could easily spend the whole day in there. It is right next to Hlemmur Foodhall so you can also refresh yourself with a pint or three afterwards.
Geisladiskabud Valda and the Reykjavik Record Shop are rather tiny, but don’t let that put you off as they are stuffed full of records and more. Smekkleysa [which means Bad Taste in English] has now moved to a new location and has been an Icelandic institution since 1986. Their record label has released a wide range of Icelandic music including The Sugarcubes and Sigur Rós.
12 Tonar which was established in 1988 used to offer you a free coffee which was always very welcome but they have now had a revamp and have a nice looking bar in the shop. Don’t forget to head to the basement where they have more records. 12 Tonar also have a record label and have released music by Eivør and Skúli Sverrisson as well as many other artists.
There is more to Icelandic music than just Sigur Ros and Björk , who are both Icelandic institutions now and deservedly so. If you think you do not know Sigur Ros it is likely that you will have heard their music on soundtracks to films and documentaries.
I now have a whole page dedicated to Music from Iceland with a Spotify playlist and lots of links to videos, – click HERE to check it out.
Just when it gets all cold, dark and wintery, Iceland Airwaves comes to the rescue with a few days of eclectic music from Iceland and beyond. The festival has been cancelled for obvious reasons for two years in a row but is scheduled to return November 2022, fingers crossed! https://icelandairwaves.is/