I look forward to the Piccadilly Lists because they tend to both tally with a broader musical consensus as to what have been the musical highlights of the year (both Solange's A seat at the table and Angel Olsen's My Woman scored highly last year) but also wear their heart on their sleeves so far as the consensus in the shop is concerned. Previous Album of the Year winners have been Julia Holter's Loud City Song and Jane Weaver's Modern Cosmology (keeping it local there...) and this years winner is Kelly Lee Owens self titled debut.
I do, dimly, remember their weekly mailout raving about Kelly Lee Owens earlier this year, but I hadn't got around to checking out the album until this morning when I decided, having bookmarked it in Spotify last week, that it was time I did.
While, on paper (or, indeed, on email mailout...), it didn't look as though it was going to be my kind of thing, I'm really glad I 'tasted' it now because I've been listening to it on repeat all day. Once I get paid at the end of the month, I'm off to the shop to buy it.
The main reason I have a Spotify account (aside from a hopeless predilection for playlisting...) is to try out music that I wouldn't normally listen to, some of which I then go on to buy from proper record shops (as much as possible) so as to ensure that the artist in question gets a better sales percentage on my purchase than they would if I bought it off Spotify or Amazon.
I really don't think I would have taken a punt on this album without the option to try it out first on streaming.
It's a mysterious and enigmatic creature, sonically speaking, soothing and calming despite being made up of really quite intricate sounding sonic landscapes. In their own write up, Piccadilly Records peg it's influences as everything from techno to shoegaze to Cocteau Twins. They think of it as a late night post clubbing kind of record, and I can see that it would work that way as it's quite lulling but still very electronic. They also describe it as slightly blurred, which I also got I think, listening to it.
I've been shopping at Piccadilly Records since the mid 1990s, when the shop was still on Brown Street and surrounded by punk shops. These days it's on Oldham Street, part of the hipster central that is the Northern Quarter and where it feels equally at ease as it did on Brown Street surrounded by punk shops. Such is the versatility of the modern record shop.