Review: Mike Pays Heat – ‘Tape 1 Play’

You can typically find Mike Pays Heat playing some sweaty basement in Philadelphia. That’s where I initially found out about them anyway. While at Drexel University, I had the chance to check out a lot of the local Philadelphia scene and the one that would form just within the student body of Drexel. That’s where these guys come from and I can tell you first hand, that they’re a joy to watch. To kick off 2016, they’ve released their debut full length, Tape 1 Play. Pay attention to these guys, they may be coming to a basement near you soon.

With their indie/punk vibes, the band shows off their raw talent with this album. You can hear it in the vocals alone, the lack of crazy effects, and I believe that’s what makes this album a joy to listen to. The guitars stand out on the album, as well. As you listen through the album, only three songs will be four minutes or longer. While most of the songs fall into the shorter length, this gives the album a good mix of what the band can do. “Breaking Pencils” starts slow but builds up into a faster pace, which makes you forget just how much longer the song is than others. The band also throws in a couple of instrumentals with “(Tape 2 Play)” and “(Tape 3 Play)” to showcase their musical abilities in isolation.

While the band may be known for playing basement shows, they still have a sophistication to their music. At times, you hear horns and piano come in on songs. “No Better” is a prime example of this. I wasn’t expecting as much piano on that song as we got, but it worked well. The band then closes out the album with “Bloom.” One thing I noticed in the song was their use of periodic pauses. It really built up anticipation for what would come next and I think that’s a fitting way to end a debut LP. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the Philly music scene, or just like indie punk in general, be sure to check this album out.