Vision Hazy EP
“Matt Tarka will release the Vision Hazy EP on September 29. “Time Travels” is undeniably Mountain Goats-esque, and luckily the bouncy acoustic-laden tune has all the heart of John Darnielle’s greatest.” MAGNET Magazine, August 25, 2017
““Time Travels” – Here’s some punchy indie-pop that fans of the Weakerthans will immediately sit up and take notice of. The guitars and vocals come together beautifully.”
Nooga.com's Notes From Left of the Dial
“On his latest single, “Time Travels,” Tarka explores a collapsing mental head space and the ensuing devastation brought on by physical deterioration. His power-pop tendencies act as a foil to the darker emotions that swirl around and inhabit the notes and melodies of the song. But he doesn’t lay in this melancholy without a sense of resolution—he turns a dire sense of inevitability into a hopeful outlook on the future. The drums splash and echo while his voice works its way inside a collection of wavering organ lines and shimmering guitar rhythms. There’s an infectious optimism that eventually emerges, an idea that while days will be dark and hearts will be broken, there will come a time when the sun’s light will reach your face again.”
"I remember getting one other cd by this Washington, DC-based gent but didn’t give it much of a listen. This one came in and decided to give it a try. It’s an EP, only 4 songs here, but I like what I hear. Tarka is a folk rocker in a similar vein of Tom Petty (and at times John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats) but like those guys he can rock out, too. Also, his voice takes a little getting used to (just like Petty and Darnielle’s voices did for me). The four songs were recorded in Savannah, GA, not a place I hear much indie rock being recorded but what the hell do I know, maybe the town is a hotbed (my dad was from there so we’d go down every few years and visit my grandmother in the 70’s, real beautiful town). The opening title track was nice, but Tarka and the band really bring it together on the driving, jangly “Midnight Sun” (even Mitch Easter, who mixed the record, adds bass here plus Brendan and Sean Kelly from another very good NC band, a fragile tomorrow, contribute to the record, too) while “Time Travels’ picks the pace up, if just a bit, as the song really moves (love that organ). The final cut, “Selling Roses” (which Easter provides pedal steel) was solid but I like it more when Tarka adds a little more tempo. Tarka is a good songwriter and now that I’m accustomed to his voice I’m going to go back to that previous record (which was called Surely Late) and give another listen. This guy is worth your time."
Stereo Embers Magazine
The latest EP from DC-based singer-songwriter Matt Tarka, Vision Hazy, is a rotating photo album of bright memories and golden nostalgia that winds along an open road.
The EP, which was mixed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr.), has melodic highs and sentimental moments of contemplation. While primarily upbeat, the harmony-driven power pop sunset of “Selling Roses” smoothes out an Americana landscape. Others, like “Midnight Sun”, highlight the vulnerability and honesty in Tarka’s voice and delivery.
Perfect for the open road, or the warm embrace of a turntable, Vision Hazy wafts like the wind, drifting off somewhere without expectation or pretense.
Adobe and Teardrops
"Time Travels" is a jangly Southern rock number that calls to mind both REM and Against Me!
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Soaring harmonies and upbeat instrumentation will leave your heart racing through the infectious melody.
Surely Late EP
“Matt Tarka is a DC-based indie pop time warp. On his EP, Surely Late, he evokes the hazy, early days of college radio (remember that? What do they even call that now?) with powerful melodies, a bit of sugary sweetness, and a delightful propulsiveness that belies the heartache that provides the lyrical matter. It’s a four-song chunk of solid songwriting and catchiness, and an interesting introduction.”
“...These songs are catchy and equal “instant classic”, with their acoustic driven pop feel, harmonies and crisp twanging guitars. “Very Little” is pop with a capital “P”, riff and rhythmically meaty, sharp and biting lyrics and easily embraceable; “Now Or Never” is reminiscent of mid-to-late ’80’s college radio (think R.E.M., The Ocean Blue or The Connells), filled starts and stops, boisterous organ and standout guitar fills; the title track has that “new wave”-ness that reminds me of (frankly) my own bands (Two Minutes Hate, as we improved and the earliest things we attempted as we morphed into The Punch Line) – straight ahead, pop construction but with motor; “Bring A Glass” is the surprise – slower, twinges of gospel and country and sadly sweet harmonies (listen to those guitar notes – fantastic).”
“Weaving isolated instances of heartbreak and rejection, he creates a sound that remedies nostalgia while still delighting with melodic surprise.”
“[Very Little] is very ’90s acoustic radio rock, with a very candid look at a very upsetting romantic situation.”
Nooga.com's Notes from the Left of the Dial
“Matt Tarka inhabits a world of heartache, loss and hope—the usual haunts for a singer-songwriter whose work revolves around some distinctly universal themes. But the details and experiences he uses as the foundation of his work are truly unique and give each song specific altitude and meaning. His voice possesses an insular twang and wobble, the perfect vehicle for these weary ruminations. It's not unlike the specific vocal tenacity of a musician like John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, but Tarka develops and maintains a pointed individuality that lends each song a remarkable emotional resonance.”
“The EP opens with “Now Or Never” as Tarka’s distinct voice starts soft with bare guitar strums then bounces right into an old-school pop-rock 80s sound. Even singing seemingly hopeless lines like “We have lost our way,” he offers solace immediately with positive solutions like making amends to his mistakes, all over a bed of constant, wailing rock instrumentation.”
“There’s layers and depth to the music, vocals and lyrics which makes for a great listen and makes us eager to hear more.”
Insomnia Radio - "Very Little" Daily Dose
“His music combines life’s contemplative themes with an upbeat, infectious sound.”
“The steady click of the wheels on the iron tracks are the rhythmic whispers of a muse singing for anyone who will listen.”