Fulmarine Petrels, the experimental indie pop project which records in Pittston, Pa., will release its latest album, “Queen Albumen of Where,” on Sept. 17. Chuck Keller, who leads the project that also features Todd Kopec of Cabinet on fiddle, describes the record as ” a collection of lyrically oblique melodic pop songs, or at least something along those lines. There may be a few points of reference in the singer/songwriter albums of the 1970s and the arty college rock of the 1980s, but it is open-ended and nebulous enough that it cannot easily be pigeonholed. ”
The group rarely performs live, but is set to play the Vintage Theater in Scranton in November.
We recently caught up with Keller to talk about the new record — which you can stream here — the development of Fulmarine Petrels over the years, what to expect from Stress Carrier and who he thinks is “the best band in the world right now.”
H81R: When did Fulmarine Petrels form, and what was the initial goal?
CK: Late 2006. I think originally there was an emphasis on spontaneity and minimalism, but that didn’t last very long.
H81R: How has the project developed over the years?
CK: I switched from recording on a four track to recording on a computer, which had a big effect on my approach to arranging songs. Also, I used to write a lot of songs on guitar, but these days I mostly write songs on piano.
H81R: How did you know Todd, and what has he brought to the music?
CK: Todd was in Louch and I was in The Green Chair. We toured together in 2007. We started working together shortly after that tour as a duo called Dice Island. While that was going on, I was working on new Fulmarine Petrels songs that it made sense to have him play on, and it just went from there. He gives the music its soul.
H81R: How would you describe the writing process for this group?
CK: I’ll usually have all my parts written and recorded before I get in touch with whoever I need to help finish the song, and they’ll come over and add their parts.
H81R: Describe the writing and recording process for the new album.
CK: The majority of the album was written over the course of a few weeks in the fall of 2011. The whole thing was recorded in my attic, very gradually, over a period of about a year and a half.
H81R: Who would you say are the influences on Fulmarine Petrels?
CK: When I was a kid, I had one of those toy record players that only played 45s. One of my earliest memories is of me, alone in my bedroom, listening to “Super Freak” over and over again. I also listened to “Tupelo Mississippi Flash” by Tom Jones a lot, but I think I just liked the parrot on the label.
H81R: Tell me a little bit more about Stress Carrier. What is the goal of the label?
CK: Stress Carrier is basically a collective of artists and musicians who are doing what we do because we love to do it. We have all gravitated toward one another over the years, and now we’re like this weird family. We try to encourage one another to be as creative as possible and to continue challenging ourselves.
H81R: What are some of the Stress Carrier releases you are most proud of?
CK: All of them.
H81R: What upcoming Stress Carrier releases should we keep an eye out for?
CK: I’m not sure when the next My Dad Is a Dinosaur record is coming out, but that just gives everyone plenty of time to go back and listen to their old ones, because they are the best band in the world right now.
H81R: Do you have any live shows planned for Fulmarine Petrels
CK: We are playing at The Vintage in Scranton on Black Friday.