Todd Rundgren, the prolific rocker and producer who has worked with everyone from The Band to Hall & Oates, is set an upcoming solo album entitled White Knight this May 12th through Cleopatra Records. With a slew of guests including Robyn, Joe Walsh, and Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and (newer member) Atticus Ross, you know it’s gonna be good.
While Rundgren has been slowly previewing the album, today he’s given the world a taste of what’s to come with the new track, “Deaf Ears,” featuring Reznor and Ross. The twitchy new track does not shy away from the NIN influence as the light, industrial drum beat glides over distorted bass with Rundgren sings in a somewhat nasally fashion about some upcoming destruction falling upon humanity, and unfortunately, “deaf ears” as well. It’s a dark and melancholy look at civilization in an increasingly complicated and tense time that we live in, one that Rundgren said was a strong influence on the upcoming new musick.
“It’s a depressing time, so sometimes depressing times call for confrontational material. Facing up to reality is a pain,” says Rundgren. “And it does have a contemporary element, especially as the EPA has been taken over by disbelievers. The principal theme for me of ‘Deaf Ears’ is, of course, the destruction we’re doing to our own habitat.”
The influence between NIN and Rundgren is nothing new, as Rundgren remixed material off of NIN’s Hesitation Marks recently as well as other collaborations in the past.
“I’ve done a little bit of work with Trent Reznor before, so when I decided I was going to do a collaborative record, he was high on my list of people to get involved. And he was terrific.”
For collaborating with NIN, Rundgren said it was like being a kid in a candy shop.
“He sent me essentially an entire album’s worth of ideas. I couldn’t decide at first, so I picked out two tunes, and he sent me all the multitracks to those. So I added vocals and a couple of other little flourishes, but otherwise it was mostly what Trent and his partner Atticus Ross sent me.”
You can peep the new video below, with several scenes of nature and city life, what might be lost if Rundgren’s outlook comes true.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat