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Matt Tarka / Press

“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. 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.”

“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.”

““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.”

“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.”

““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.””

““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.””

““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).””

““[Very Little] is very ’90s acoustic radio rock, with a very candid look at a very upsetting romantic situation.””

““His music combines life’s contemplative themes with an upbeat, infectious sound.””

““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.””

““There’s layers and depth to the music, vocals and lyrics which makes for a great listen and makes us eager to hear more.””

““Weaving isolated instances of heartbreak and rejection, he creates a sound that remedies nostalgia while still delighting with melodic surprise.””

““The steady click of the wheels on the iron tracks are the rhythmic whispers of a muse singing for anyone who will listen.””

“I have seen Matt and his local folkie approach a number of times over the years, but it has been a while and during that time he has assembled a band to infuse more rock into his songs. And he has a four-song EP to show off these results. I am quite happy with his direction as he still maintains his warm approach to songwriting and has a band to bring further life to the mix. There are catchy pop runs as well as more earthy introspective moments. The pace is moderate and even brisk on occasion, such as in ‘Very Little’. This is a solid effort and a good direction for Matt Tarka to take his music.”

“Surely Late is a spirited album in which every track captures a mood and hooks you in with fun, catchy choruses and a tight sound. I found myself listening to some tracks more than once just to hear that one kick ass electric guitar lick again. The songs have a tinge of catchy ’80s pop to them and you can’t help but feel a little nostalgic.”

“Rising singer-songwriter”

“I have compared him to the Kevin Seconds/Vic Ruggiero/Jesse Malin type folk school of rockers that can write well enough and have the voice to deliver good to very good folk sets. I think the best of his style are the vocal lines he writes that are simple enough on the face of things, but have a few hooky moments that bring his songs to life.”

“Dylan-esque lyrics and confident power chord guitar accompaniment.”

“One of my personal favorite local singer-songwriters. He has a particularly sharp ditty about public libraries.”

“Tarka's formula is to keep it simple and direct. He sings, plays acoustic guitar and that is it. The chords are simple and strongly hit featuring plenty of barre chords. This is a style comparable with a lot of rockers turned folk artists such as Kevin Seconds and TV Smith. I am reminded quite a bit of TV Smith with the powerful direct acoustic guitar and the moderately high pitched voice that also shares the direct intensity of the guitar. If you want some good songs put forward sincerely, Matt Tarka's set will do the trick.”