Uni are a fab new glitter-rock trio from NYC featuring Nico Fuzz, David Strange, and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, best known for collaborating with Sean Ono Lennon in their psych-pop outfit The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. The band just released their starry-eyed first single, “What’s the Problem?,” with a full-length coming out in early 2018 on Ono Lennon’s Chimera Music label. To give you a taste of what to expect, the group curated a Dowsers playlist that salutes their glitter-rock gods—and provided these highly informative, totally fact-checked, irrefutable liner notes about each song’s creation:
Gentle Giant, “The Queen”
This song was inspired by a notorious crossdressing hermaphrodite who lived in the underground tunnels beneath Leicester Square in the winter of 1976. She only had three teeth, ate nothing but fish and chips, and prowled the streets in a tattered sequin negligee mumbling about “Churchill’s black dog” and the “goddam war.”
T. Rex, “Children of the Revolution”
This song is about a stray bullet that pierced the testicle of a revolutionary soldier during the Siege of Yorktown (Virginia, Oct. 1781) and lodged itself in the ovary of an 18-year-old girl who was 300 yards away at the time. Two separate eggs were inseminated and the offspring of this most unsafe sex in history were known as the Children of The Revolution. Marc Bolan wrote this song about them.
Electric Light Orchestra, “Telephone Line”
Jeff Lynne was addicted to phone-sex hotlines before the advent of the internet. He squandered his vast earnings from Electric Light Orchestra on 1-800 numbers then wrote this song penniless, heartbroken, and destitute on the floor of a Telephone Booth in 1976 detailing his downward spiral like the cord of a telephone line.
Sparks, “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us”
This is Sparks’ magnum octopus. It’s a modern-day West Side Story that gives voice to the gentrification of Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2017. It speaks from the voice of a Wall Street banker who purchased, tore down, and built condos on the site of a former Puerto Rican community center. Sparks makes their political statement clear in this epic manifesto.
John Cameron Mitchell, “The Origin of Love” (from Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
In Plato’s Symposium (or, The Drinking Party), Aristophanes, a well-known comedic playwright at the time, suggests that humans were once round balls of flesh with both male and female anatomy who rolled to and fro. Zeus, threatened by their power, cut them in two with a lightning bolt. He describes love as the human desire to be whole again by locating the missing half. Hedwig further immortalized this myth in this incredible song.
Pulp, “This Is Hardcore”
In 1998, after mixing quaaludes, LSD, bourbon, and Marlboro Reds, Jarvis Cocker stumbled into a Hollywood soundstage shooting a dream sequence of Busby Berkeley line dancers. Doesn’t get any cooler than an emaciated, confused Jarvis being brushed by feather fans while singing “you are hardcore/ you make me hard.”
Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
Elton was diagnosed with high blood sugar in 1971. Yellow Brick Road was a salt-water taffy and Rocky Mountain-style fudge shop that he used to have send chocolate-dipped potato chips, brown bears, and caramel nut patties to him on the road. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was a bittersweet farewell to his sweet tooth that he performed on The Muppet Show.
Lou Reed, “Vicious”
Lou wrote the first version of this song entirely on the cowbell. When it came time to record the track, it wasn’t coming together very well, so Lou swallowed his pride and on the recommendation of producers David Bowie and Mick Ronson, called in all of Blue Öyster Cult to lay down the initial cowbell recording that you hear featured prominently in the final version. It became the inspiration for Ian Dury’s “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” and many other classics.
Oasis made this list because they’re the only band who fights with each other more than we do.
David Bowie, “Life on Mars”
Bowie took the chord changes from Sinatra’s “My Way” to write this song. Sinatra took the womb of Mia Farrow from Woody Allen. And Woody Allen took his daughter to be his wife. So, we hope there is life on Mars.
Chrisma, “Black Silk Stocking”
From 1991 to 1999, the USA Network aired a drama series called Silk Stalkings. Advertised as “crime-time TV,” in reality it was soft-core porn stitched together from the leftover plots of 1980s triple X films. Chrisma’s “Black Silk Stocking” was cited as the series’ main inspiration.
Pink Floyd, “Apples and Oranges”
Song about the two basic food groups.
Lemon Twigs, “Frank”
In 2016, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut regained the Mustard Yellow International Belt at the annual Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest at Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island. Chestnut, 32, downed 70 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes—the most hot dogs and buns ever eaten at the competition. That same year, The Lemon Twigs released “Frank”—a song, we assume, that’s about hot dogs and their admiration for this American hero.
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Snakedriver”
Not a euphemism. Definitely a song about a chauffeur who works for a very wealthy snake.
Queen, “Mister Fahrenheit”
[Ed. note: We’re pretty sure they mean “Don’t Stop Me Now]
Undoubtedly the most debated song in rock history. The argument goes like this: If Queen is a British band, then why would they call the song “Mister Fahrenheit” and not “Sister Celsius”
Marilyn Manson, “Personal Jesus”
In 2005, Manson gave us his Personal Jesus. In 2013, Kanye publicly brought Jesus onstage with him. In 1964, Bob Dylan said “The Times They Are a Changin’.”
The Modern Lovers, “Pablo Picasso”
This is song is the handbook for any lonely guy who wants to pick up chicks.
Violent Femmes, “Good Feeling”
The song you hear in your head when you are trying to keep the sun from rising.
Beck, “New Pollution”
People really confuse the meaning of this song. An art department intern at Geffen responsible for delivering the final album files accidentally left out an “s” in the song title. It was meant to be called “News Pollution,” all about fake news. Beck smelt it back in the ’90s and was trying to warn us. Because of this one typo, the whole country believed Bill Clinton never had sexual relations with an intern, thought everything was cool in Rwanda and Burundi, were convinced Iraq had WMDs, and had no reason to think that Harvey Weinstein was anything other than guy who liked professional one-on-one meetings with all his prospective female leads. If only we knew now what Beck knew then…
The Rolling Stones, “She’s a Rainbow”
Definitely the best jingle that Skittles ever had in a commercial. I have no idea how they convinced the Stones to write this one for them, but we did hear that Keith ate nothing but blue skittles and vodka during the summer of 1967, so maybe this had something to do with the decision. Great song either way. Taste the Rainbow…
T. Rex, “Cosmic Dancer”
If all the celestial bodies in the infinite firmament of beginning-less time and the vacuum of space manifested their quarks into a private lap dance on your deathbed on the moon in the final countdown before the Milky Way exploded, it would feel exactly like this song.