Move over Vinyl – the best new soundtrack on TV arrives tomorrow (March 11), with Will Arnett’s new Netflix comedy/drama Flaked. At first a light-hearted exploration of underachievement in the orange, Insta-chic hipsterland of Venice, California, it’s soon cut through with satisfyingly slow-burn drama. And its soundtrack facilitates that effect – original tracks were composed by Pavement‘s Stephen Malkmus and it has even more indie cred thanks to the cuts it uses from Warpaint, EL VY, Car Seat Headrest and Kurt Vile – among many others – plus exclusive tracks contributed by Local Natives, Kid Bloom and S. Carey.
Ignore the ukulele in the above trailer. It’s not a cutesy rom-com about a love triangle: Arnett (Bojack Horseman, Arrested Development) stars as backstory-wielding AA member Chip, a compulsive liar whose web of half-truths starts to unravel after the arrival of his best friend Dennis’s new crush, London. Meet the main characters below, along with the soundtrack choices that fit their character best.
1. Chip – Kurt Vile’s ‘Pretty Pimpin’’
Who: Chip, above left, is a stool-maker who’s still married to his estranged wife, wears shorts constantly, doesn’t own a mobile phone, and rides a bike everywhere. By rights we should hate Chip, but his constant lying makes him a pretty intriguing prospect. Sometimes you’ll wonder if even he knows what he’s up to.
Why ‘Pretty Pimpin’’: Chip would conceivably say words to the effect of these lyrics: “I woke up this morning, didn’t recognize the man in the mirror. Then I laughed and I said, ‘Oh silly me, that’s just me.’”
2. Kara – Warpaint’s ‘Undertow’
Who: When we meet Kara, she’s been hooking up with Chip for a while, but as she’s not yet passed a year sober, she can’t enter a relationship with him. She likes music and hates lies, so that’s all good.
Why ‘Undertow’: Kara would probably listen to this. Dark, spiky, slightly mysterious, ultimately a bit bruised.
3. Dennis – Car Seat Headrest’s ‘Something Soon’
Who: Chip’s best mate, above right, is also an AA member, but somehow with the restraint to be a sommelier too. He’s fallen hard for London, who’s just moved to Venice and is a waitress at a restaurant he serves. In his free time he plays paddle tennis with Chip, which is as ridiculous as it sounds.
Why ‘Something Soon’: Dennis is always waiting and never taking action, when what he wants is to be like Chip – someone who takes what he wants. By contrast, Dennis never wins, giving him the angsty, frustrated vibe of this song.
4. London – Hinds’ ‘Trippy Gum’
Who: London’s initially just the object of fascination for two men 17 years her senior, but as the series progresses, that cliché is undermined brilliantly.
Why ‘Trippy Gum’: She’s fun and cool and doesn’t really give a shit.
5. Cooler – Foxygen’s ‘Cosmic Vibrations’
Who: Dennis and Chip’s weirdo stoner friend, who sleep-eats and has a real name that no one knows. Often the comic relief, but not always.
Why ‘Cosmic Vibrations’: At first he just seems really zany, but he’s got another, surprisingly deep and melancholy side.