Last Friday, the Pitchfork Music Festival (July 18-20) announced its first batch of acts for 2014, and you may be scratching your head--the fest often showcases acts that haven't hit the mainstream and celebrates different styles you may not be accustomed to. In the interest of musical education (and increasing cool points as needed), we've compiled a P4k 2k14 cheat sheet to help.

 

Friday:

Beck
Where he's from: Los Angeles
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "He lost me at 'Guero,' but I hope he plays 'The New Pollution.' "
Standout songs: "Loser," "E-Pro," "Sexx Laws"
What to expect: New material (his new album, "Morning Phase," arrives Feb. 25) and a little more two-step than you might imagine.

Giorgio Moroder
Where he's from: Italy
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Ughhhh, everyone here is just into his Daft Punk stuff. Bet they don't even know 'Chase!'"
Standout songs as a composer: "Take My Breath Away," "Flashdance ...What A Feeling," "Danger Zone," all the music from "Scarface," practically every Donna Summer song you've ever heard
What to expect: Look at the standout songs. This guy is a legend. Expect to dance.

Sun Kil Moon
Where he's from: San Francisco
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Wouldn't it be funny if they play 'Sunshine in Chicago' while they're IN Chicago? HAHAHAHA."
Standout songs: "Heron Blue," "Glenn Tipton," "Pray for Newtown"
What to expect: Folk music with balls. Stop laughing.

Factory Floor
Where they're from: London
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "If there's any justice in this world, they'll end with 'Fall Back.' "
Standout songs: "Fall Back," "Turn It Up," "Two Different Ways"
What to expect: Synth-a-mania. If you like industrial music, these guys are for you.

Sharon Van Etten
Where she's from: Brooklyn
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Hopefully she gets a better timeslot than she did in 2010."
Standout songs: "Serpents," "One Day," "Love More"
What to expect: Heartfelt tunes sung with empathy and energy.

Death Grips
Where they're from: Sacramento
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "I actually thought them no-showing Lolla was a great social commentary."
Standout songs: "Lil Boy," "I've Seen Footage"
What to expect: This is what would happen if Chuck D joined Black Flag and got eaten by the Borg. But, uh ... let's just see if they show up first.

The Haxan Cloak
Where he's from: London
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "It's not 'goth.' If anything, you can say that it's an audio navigation of the psyche of death. You wouldn't understand."
Standout songs: "Excavation Part 1 & 2," "The Mirror Reflecting Part 1 & 2"
What to expect: Darkness. Cue the Vincent Price-esque laugh.

 

Saturday:

Neutral Milk Hotel
Where they're from: Athens, Ga.
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: Just start crying and yelling "COMMUNIST DAUGHTER!"
Standout songs: "In the Aeroplane Over The Sea," "Holland, 1945"
What to expect: White people in their early 30's. So ... Pitchfork.

tUne-YaRdS
Where she's from: Conneticut
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Yeah, her song WAS on 'Orange Is The New Black'! Good on you for catching that."
Standout songs: "Bizness," "Gangsta," "Fiya"
What to expect: Fun world-influenced indie pop

Mas Ysa
Where he's from: Montreal
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Oh, I did a dab with him at 285 Kent right when he signed to Downtown Records."
Standout songs: "Why"
What to expect: Is "art director pop" a genre? Because that's what this is.

Pusha T
Where he's from: Virginia Beach
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "If he plays anything off of We Got It for Cheap, I'll die!"
Standout songs: "King Push," "Numbers on the Boards," "Millions," "Nosetalgia"
What to expect: Coke rap smack talk from one of the best rappers on the planet.

The Range
Where he's from: Providence, R.I.
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "So many people slept on "Nonfiction" last year!"
Standout songs: "Metal Swing"
What to expect: A lot of people sleeping on him. He'll be back and bigger next time.

Wild Beasts
Where they're from: England
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "They embody all the best and worst qualities of bands like Pulp."
Standout songs: "Wanderlust," "Reach A Bit Further"
What to expect: Buzzy, brazen indie rock. Maybe you'll twirl? Maybe you'll dance?

Ka
Where he's from: Brooklyn
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Brooklyn boom-bap is boom-BACK!"
Standout songs: "Soap Box," "Nothing Is"
What to expect: Potent lyrical hip-hop.

Circulatory System
Where they're from: Athens
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Do you want some drugs? Here are some drugs."
Standout songs: "Overjoyed"
What to expect: The weirdest set of the whole festival.

The Julie Ruin
Where they're from: Brooklyn
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "KATHLEEN MOTHER[BLEEPING] HAN-NAAAAAAAAA!"
Standout songs: "Ha Ha Ha," "Oh Come On"
What to expect: The next incarnation in a long line of Riot Grrrl majesty.

 

Sunday:

DIIV
Where they're from: Brooklyn
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "I used to hang with the drummer when he was in Smith Westerns."
Standout songs: "How Long Have You Known?"
What to expect: Dreamy indie rock tunes. If there's any justice, they'll play a cheery afternoon slot.

Grimes
Where she's from: Vancouver, Canada
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Psh, it's not seapunk. You don't even know what that means."
Standout songs: "Oblivion," "Genesis"
What to expect: A lot of thinkpieces written about her performance afterward.

Slowdive
Where they're from: England
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "Think they're going to play anything from their Brian Eno sessions?"
Standout songs: "Alison," "When The Sun Hits"
What to expect: Every year, one Pitchfork performer brings out the hordes of "cool dads." Meet this year's nostalgia representative.

Kendrick Lamar
Where he's from: Compton, Calif.
Anecdote you can use to sound informed: "[Bleep] Macklemore. Kendrick deserved that Grammy."
Standout songs: "A.D.H.D," "Backseat Freestyle," "m.A.A.d city"
What to expect: Visceral rap, the biggest crowd of the whole weekend.

  

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