Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Rob Potylo performs in September at T.T. the Bear’s Place in Cambridge. (Photo: bdjsb7)

Rob Potylo, preparing to release his first album under his own name instead of as Robby Roadsteamer, has released an untitled bonus track. (Listen to it by clicking here.)

As suggested by Potylo’s dropping of the loud, out-of-control Roadsteamer persona (most famous for the meta-misogynist anthem “I Put a Baby in You” and stealing the award he was supposed to be presenting to the SnowLeopards at the 2006 Boston Music Awards), the bonus track is less funny and more wistful than the bulk of his repertoire.

Or, rather, its nearly Dylanesque vibe will make it more obviously wistful to fratboy fans who may not have been listening very closely to Potylo’s lyrics over the years, although the dropping of the Roadsteamer name will likely make the new work invisible to those fans.

Potylo’s announcement of the track Sunday was typically conflicted. It’s defensive and on the offense at the same time — not passive-aggressive, but more passive-superaggressive: “If you don’t like it, well, that’s okay, because it’s a bonus track,” he said. “There’s like three to 21 other tracks. If you like one of those, then, hey, we’re playing with house money. Most albums only have one okay song and 14 near-misses.”

Expect it to be like the bonus tracks off the album he recorded as Super Time Pilot with Nikki Dessingue of Where the Land Meets the Sea: a bit of lo-fi after 20 tracks of hi-fi. The latest episode of Potylo’s reality sitcom, “Quiet Desperation,” undoubtedly provides a better sense of where he’s headed for at least half the album, which is a ringing, stirring — and really good — sound.

The leaking of songs through “Quiet Desperation,” which is available on YouTube or quietd.com, is another way the new album is suggestive of Super Time Pilot.

Nikki Dessingue and Potylo perform in September as Super Time Pilot, one of only a handful of times the band performed together. (Photo: bdjsb7)

And that’s also good. That “Did We Happen to Begin?” looks destined to be Super Time Pilot’s only album — the Potylo-Dessingue duo imploded — is a bit of a tragedy. Many of its songs are unbelievably catchy, even swinging wide between a ridiculous bit of fluff such as “Gonna Get Hit” and the stunning and heartbreaking “New Explosion.” (That song is improvised, which makes it — no exaggeration — a work of creative genius, so good the band gets a pass for the apparently unironic use of the word “unreversible” earlier in the album.) The possibilities for “Do You Like Waiting,” “Comedy Song,” “You Changed” and “Partys at the Top” were limitless, given proper touring and the right promotion.

Part of the addictive charm of the album was Potylo and Dessingue’s banter and bickering, which could be heard in snatches of dialogue throughout the album, and how their clashing personal lives informed what went into the songs. But this isn’t dialogue cutely added like on a David Holmes soundtrack; this is what they were really saying in the few takes rushed through in two days of studio time. Listen to “Lady Logic” and be blown away by what sounds very much like Potylo working out his anger toward Dessingue in the most violent imagery — and Dessingue laughing because it is, after all, him working it out. Listen to “It’s Thursday” and hear embarrassing personal habits exposed in a verbal duel. The whole album is a found object, an intimate diary, a peek in the window at the creative process, a breathtaking ride and slow-motion train wreck all at once.

But unlike Super Time Pilot’s backing by car and music magnate Ernie Boch Jr., Potylo’s new album has no label. “It’s going to be hard to find because I can’t afford to press the thing, so it’s going to just be online and through CD-Rs I will press at will,” Potylo said Sunday.

It doesn’t have to be that way, not if the skill and sensibility demonstrated on “Did We Happen to Begin?” and hinted at in episode 16 of “Quiet Desperation” is borne out. But Potylo is resigned. He just wants to ensure people get what he’s doing.

“The easiest way to explain it is like this: When it was 1997 there was a movie someone once told us about called ‘Fargo.’ The said person said the movie was ‘fucking hilarious.’ When we saw the movie it wasn’t that funny and we thought it sucked,” Potylo said. “A few weeks later, someone told me the movie was more of a dark comedy/drama.”

“Second viewing was pretty nice,” he said.

“With that in mind, listen to the new album when it comes out once,” he said. “Or twice.”