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Matt Tarka

Have you ever had a moment where you’ve realized that you were late to the party, that you’ve spent too much energy on trying to please the wrong people or you’ve been deceived by those closest to you? If the answer is yes then the rock-inflected folk music of DC-based artist Matt Tarka will speak directly to you. Weaving isolated moments of heartbreak and rejection into his songs he continues the traditions of artists such as Tom Petty, Wilco and Carole King.

These themes flow from his new EP, Vision Hazy - recorded at Low Watt Recording in Savannah, GA with Ted Comerford (Jukebox The Ghost, Jonas Sees in Color) at the production helm, and subsequently mixed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr.) at The Fidelitorium in North Carolina. Taking his folk origins and unleashing them, with the help of the occasional guitar flourish or fluttering drumbeat, the record sees Tarka bolster his sound with a rockier element. Sonically it’s his most advanced creation to date.

The considered nature of the tracks belies the slightly chaotic nature of his creative process. Ideas are roughly written down on index cards, notebooks, on scraps of paper left under the bed in case of night-time inspiration, or recorded into a dictation machine. Out of these assorted thoughts come the lyrics, which then shape the sound of his music. Demos are recorded onto an old cassette recorder, giving them a timeless feel from the very outset, and order is finally formed from his disorderly ruminations.

It’s a process that has evolved since his debut in 2008, as Tarka continues to follow his muse. As he says himself, ‘don’t let anyone tell you what kind of music you should be making, or how you should be making it. There are enough outside distractions in the world. Be true to yourself.’ You can hear this mantra ringing out in his honest lyrics and heartfelt delivery.

In an intimate live setting Tarka’s music takes on a different lease of life, careening and questing further from his tight recordings. Having already played in Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC and DC (anywhere with a barbeque joint nearby), with new shows coming up there’ll be plenty of chances to hear the songs of Vision Hazy performed live. You needn’t worry if you’re late in discovering the sounds of Matt Tarka … Now’s the perfect chance to catch up!

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Matt Tarka Announces September 29, 2017 EP Release

The upcoming powerpop EP from Matt Tarka, Vision Hazy, is a rotating photo album of bright memories and golden nostalgia that winds along an open road. The EP was mixed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr.) and is due out September 29.

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

Lara Supan, That Mag

“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."

David Hintz, DC Rock Live

"Surely Late tackles the despair of everyday life, turning it from hopeless to hopeful with Matt Tarka’s carefully and confidently crafted musical arrangements, sincere vocals, and relatable lyrics." [11/14/2016]

Elmore Magazine

"The upbeat rhythms complicate our dissection of this narrative (much in the same way that bands such as The Pernice Brothers and The Magnetic Fields wrap sad stories in beautiful sounds), but Tarka manages to keep the music moving along, never releasing his control and directing everything toward a particular musical revelation." [9/16/16]

Joshua Pickard , Nooga
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