The Lymbs
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The Lymbs

Oakland, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Oakland, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Alternative Hard Rock




"The Lymbs - Moon, "Sonic Reducer""

Funny thing. The first time I checked out The Lymbs' Moon coincided within minutes of ingesting something very powerful. Something so powerful I can't tell you what it was. My first thought was, “these guys sound like the 'High Desert Rock' of Brant Bjork.” Great combination. That sound is an asset to Albuquerque's music scene for sure; however, there's more to The Lymbs than heavy riffs.

There's something “real” about their heavy, garage drum and guitar combo that most bands don't have. They've got talent, and the Lymbs have found a niche that isn't just “blues rock” or “garage.” Drummer Jeff Bell and git/vox man Gage Bickerstaff fit together musically to an extant that The Lymbs have staying power.

I bet these guys will be around for a while, and I predict Moon will hold up as well as the great music they'll be making in the future. Recommended.

-Geoffrey Plant - Albuquerque Alibi

"Burning Questions for The Lymbs"

“God. You are pretty,” were Josh Stuyvesant’s first words upon meeting Gage and Jeff of The Lymbs. They were pretty, too pretty, and a little full of themselves. That was my first impression. So I already didn’t like them, and I didn’t necessarily want to. “Easy on the eyes and hard on the ears.” Pretty people have it easy enough, they shouldn’t be good at things. I want some grungy-looking, had-it-rough motherfuckers, I want to love the way they look because I love their music, like Thom Yorke. I’ve never loved the way someone looked aesthetically first, music second. I also hated that they were a two-piece. I mean come on, how fucking trendy can you get: Black Keys, Two Gallants, The White Stripes, Death From Above 1979? Two trendy, self-absorbed, long-haired pretty boys trying to play rock music. Mind you, this all ran through my head before I actually heard them play for the first time. They were at a heavy disadvantage in my eyes, and I’m a biased, grudge-holding New Age traveler.

They mind-molested me with their hair and sound.
I wouldn’t admit to myself that I was wrong at first. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “So what? They make some good noise. Anyone could imitate this. I’ve heard better.” I ran through my head and compared them to other bands, though none of them local. I’d already subconsciously elevated them. They mind-molested me with their hair and sound. I’d never heard that type of instrumental and lyrical complexity from a band, much less a two-piece, in Albuquerque. Denial is a powerful form of appreciation.

Ergo, I went to a second show at Low Spirits where I heard them play Kerosene for the first time. Fuck it baby, just fall into my arms. The instrumental breakdowns in that song alone made me love The Lymbs, that or the two dollar PBRs I’d been guzzling. It was undeniable: That song was the best thing I’d ever heard in Albuquerque, and to this day still is. I understand the plucky nature of that statement, but based on my taste in music and what I’ve seen, it’s the truth. And to an extent this is reaffirmed in the envy I see in musicians’ eyes every time they play.

I foolishly approached frontman Gage after that second show, complimented him, then proceeded to ask: “Have you guys ever thought about getting a vocalist?” This was in no way a critique of his writing or vocals, they were just so musically tight that I wanted to hear Gage wander off a little bit more instrumentally. He certainly didn’t see it as so. He saw it as an insult to him as a lyricist and singer. That was Gage’s first impression of me, another asshole with his two cents on where this band should go.

Since these first instances, two years ago, we’ve become good friends, not out of convenience but out of genuine mutual respect for one another as artists. The more I got to know Gage and Jeff the more respect I had for them and their music. To be frank, in the two years working with them we’ve had our ups and downs, as it goes in any trailer trash romance. Sometimes we’re smoking cigarettes on the front lawn, cursing the sheriff and drinking Busch; other times we’re lying to the sheriff about some domestic disturbance called in by the neighbors. For me the times that everyone thought Gage was just being difficult is when I connected with him the most. Gage has an artistic resolve I rarely see in creatives today. I empathize with and admire that about him. He’s the closest thing to an Ayn Rand Howard Roark I’ve ever been witness to, and just like the musicians who watch him play, I envy that.

It’s the anomalies in life that end up really affecting you. Beauty first, asshole, then musical genius, or beauty and asshole first, then asshole, and genius next; rinse and repeat, then repeat and rinse. Creative individuals become attracted to one another by intellectually jumping in.

So in lieu of intellectually jumping these pretty assholes in, I asked The Lymbs some raw questions about them, their tour, and the new album set to release on March 14. And just to make sure they were as honest as possible, I had them answer the questions separately without consulting one another. (See also my post about making their latest music video.)

You guys are instrumentally very tight; what was it, musically, that attracted you to one another? Were you attracted to how the other person played, or did that come with time?

Jeff: We were on the same page musically from day one, which was refreshing. At the time I met Gage, I had been playing music with many people and bands, but the writing process with them was getting to be forced and unnatural. Gage and I flowed pretty well while playing, so we thought more about the message and meaning behind our music rather than just execution. In time, though, I’ve really grown to like how Gage puts lyrics together. As a percussionist (or maybe it’s just me) lyrics have never been what I pay attention to the most. But as a band member, obviously I care about what our songs say and are about, so I like to know them. But his writing style is good and I think I’d pay attention to them even if I was just a fan.

I think it seems odd to Jeff that I do that, but it has always been my approach.
Gage: I would have to say it was a little bit of both. It was obvious that Jeff was a good drummer, and could make creative, tasteful rhythms around the songs I already had in mind. That was the reason I wanted to work with him in the beginning. The way we work together now came over time. We weren’t always so in tune with each other’s style and that took tweaking, but it didn’t take long. After the first year we really started to click.

What is your songwriting process both instrumentally and lyrically? Did it change from the last album to this one? Give us quirks, superstitions and inspiration as well.

Jeff: Gage and I talk a lot about the direction we want to take our music in; whether it’s the style of the next songs we want to write or how old songs should be changed. With that, Gage will show me a progression on the guitar and I’ll add percussion on top. From there, it will develop into a song. Sometimes we can do this fairly quickly. Some songs of ours take forever. I remember working on “II,” the second song on this album with the working title “House of Love” back in 2012. That’s when the main riff for that song was born.

Gage: I always work on the music and the melodies of the song before I start on lyrics. As far as me and Jeff working together, I will usually come up with something and give it a simple structure, then show it to Jeff. If it seems to be going somewhere with his input we will continue to talk about arrangement and flow, while I work on finishing the chord progressions and melodic functions. As soon as the song seems to be structured in its near final form, I will start on lyrical ideas. Up until that point, I basically just scat over the song in a vocal melody I have settled on, using random syllables that fit into the spaces of the vocal line. I think it seems odd to Jeff that I do that, but it has always been my approach. The way the music makes me feel is most of what inspires me lyrically, and I have to write the music before I can say what the experience of the song should round out to.

I try to write my lyrics in poetic form for the most part. In the first CD, I focused more on outside events and how those connect together and to us, looking for texture in words and how the syllables splash up against each other. In this newest CD, I tried to focus more on internal/personal events, trying to get closer to the listener, while still trying to figure out how those events connect together and if it all means anything. I focus less on the texture of the words and more on the delivery of personal ideas. I guess as a songwriter, I have a complex with trying to answer life’s great questions.

You guys play around Albuquerque pretty frequently and have a good base of followers. What does it take to break into the local music scene? What do you think of it? And what do you imagine it would take to break out?

Jeff: It took a lot of persistence to break into Albuquerque. And by that, I mean we’ve come a long way in refining our sound, developing relationships, and gaining access to opportunities in this town. This last year has been exciting for us because we’ve been able to artistically collaborate with Albuquerque locals, and really feel the sense of community here. I think all we can do is continue to write music we are proud of and play it.

Gage: I think persistence is the key, especially when you’re trying to write music that isn’t necessarily on mainstream radio. Anyone trying to be an artist has to take their licks, but if you truly have something that people can connect to and appreciate, which I believe we do, all you need is time and hard work. I think Albuquerque has a great music scene that isn’t based around a specific genre, and that diversity gives even a small scene life. As Albuquerque grows, so will the music scene, and the talent that exists here will thrive. Also, being part of the musical community and supporting each other is essential. Without it, you can’t create cool shows that are collectives of different social groups, and you will have nowhere to sleep, except your van when you’re on tour.

We’re pretty good at moving past our quarrels at this point.
What do you like and hate most about your new album Moon? Glums and glows of the recording process?

Jeff: I like how everything came together. A lot of time and effort was put into writing these songs, recording, performing them and getting artwork and everything else necessary to create an album; just holding the finished product in my hand reminds me of the entire process. I don’t really hate anything about it, but I dislike being stressed, and I suffered from a lot of it these last few months preparing for its release.

Gage: I think Moon is a good step for us in an artistic direction. Of course, there are some things about the CD that aren’t my favorite, and I wish we could have had more time in the studio with it, but I felt that way about the first CD. It will be a different listen for people who liked Casa de Amor, which could be good or bad depending on the person I guess. That’s how this whole art thing goes. I do worry about how it will be received, but I don’t expect anything less than that from myself. It gets frustrating for me in the studio when concepts or sounds don’t come out exactly the way I want them, but that is just the nature of creating, and the nature of where we are as artists at this point in our career.

You start your tour immediately after the release on March 14. What were some of your favorite and worst moments from last year’s tour?

Jeff: It’s fun to think about this year’s upcoming tour. I know a lot more about what to expect, not only because we’re revisiting a lot of the same cities and bands from last year, but because there are things you just learn about your band from experience. Last year’s tour was awesome though. There was something new each day, and I never knew what to expect. It’s fun to live that way sometimes. I’d say San Francisco and Portland were major highlights from last year and I’m stoked to go back this year. The people, the music, the food were all part of it. I wasn’t as stoked to have a blowout on the freeway somewhere in Wyoming last year. Funny, there’s no reason not to expect another one this time around.

Gage: Even through the stress of financing the tour, being our own roadies, driving all night to the next city, and sleeping in the van when we had to, I don’t think I have been happier as an adult than when we were out there on the road doing what we do in a different city every night. The people we met were probably my favorite part, because we got to spend a night or two with a group of people we had never met. People who took us in because we all are struggling to fulfill our dreams. When our time there was over, we would say our goodbyes and move on to the next place to do it all over again. The worst parts were just small things like blowing a tire, and driving through Wyoming. There is nothing in Wyoming.

At any point did you think The Lymbs were done? What happened and why? How have you made it work thus far?

Jeff: Yep. There have been a few times when Gage and I didn’t get along. It’s difficult as a two-piece too, because it takes more effort to come to an agreement about things without someone in the middle. We started recording for Moon last summer, and I think the last time we really got into it was right before then. It’s funny to think about how we’ve never thought about quitting The Lymbs because of the music. It’s always because of something silly. We’re pretty good at moving past our quarrels at this point. I think we realize how easily this album could’ve never been anything if we hadn’t fixed what ever was going on last summer between us.

Gage: There was a time early on when Jeff was still playing in other bands and it just seemed like we weren’t going to be able to focus on this enough to make it work. However, that turned out not to be true, and it works to this day because we fill our roles in the band. We truly believe in what we’re doing. We also fought about stuff a lot more early on, and sometimes that got pretty bad; those were usually the result of drunken ramblings. I think we have come to a better understanding of each other now, and while we still argue from time to time, we know that we are working towards something that at this point cannot be done without the other.

-Jeremy Kinter - Pyragraph Magazine

"The Lymbs"

Well, this is awkward, but I seemed to have arrived late to the party. Everyone I know seems to have heard about The Lymbs except for me. So, naturally, I log on to social media sites to do some research on these guys and, BAM!, half of my friends have liked and followed their pages. Why didn’t anyone inform me of the greatness I’ve been missing out on? Thanks, guys.

Anyway, I digress. Very rarely can two individuals cohesively create musical fusion of this magnitude, but Albuquerque’s The Lymbs do so with ease. I blame their passion; it resonates deep within them and then spreads like mad to the listener. I dig it, although I’m not sure I can describe them while confining myself to just one genre.

I’m gonna go out on a limb (see what I did there) and call them modern electric grunge rock. If it’s not a genre, it is now. Gage Bickerstaff’s vocals make me feel like I’m listening to ’90s grunge bands, while many guitar parts are reminiscent of Black Sabbath and early Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I know, it all seems so crazy, but trust me, it’s no lie. Jeff Bell on drums doesn’t mess around either, keeping it simple, but hitting fill after fill when needed, and accompanying Bickerstaff as if the two were born to play music together. Just listen to “Dreamer” off of the duo’s EP and this will all make sense, I promise.

-Todd Rhode - Local IQ

"The Lymbs- Casa De Amor"

RIYL: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Japandroids, White Stripes

Recommended tracks:

Track 1- Dreamer

Track 2- Wicker Man

Track 5- Fires

New Mexico-based, blues/funk-rock duo The Lymbs have the same unique gift that made the White Stripes famous: to create an absolutely huge sound with just guitar and drums. The duo combine elements of blues and funk rock with harder, garage rock, mashing up guitar tones that sound straight from a Chili Peppers record with huge, fuzzed out moments that sound like Japandroids on steroids.

Gage Bickerstaff’s seducing tenor sounds like something straight out of the early blues-rock movement— say Cream or Muddy Waters. Plus, he can absolutely shred on the guitar. On the opening track his clean, laid back riffing explodes into a huge sounding, overdriven guitar blitz that will have you wanting to bash your head off the nearest wall and shout for joy at the same time.

Jeff Bell tackles the daunting task of giving a backbone on drums to such a versatile, rhythmically complex sound like it’s not even a challenge. He shuffles back and forth between polyrythmic and highly syncopated licks (“Kerosene”) and heavy half-time thrashing (“Dreamer”) with ease— which is no small task.

In a world full of assembly-line-produced, rip-off bands, The Lymbs take a unique, refreshing approach to bringing back rock music. And they do it in a big way - WSBU - 88.3 The Buzz

"The Lymbs: Casa de Amor"

It can be tricky to operate as a bluesy two-piece rock act without drawing comparison to either Black Keys or White Stripes, but if anyone can do it it’s Albuquerque’s The Lymbs.

In fact, Jeff Bell and Gage Bickerstaff prove there is still plenty of room for innovation in a subgenre that was beginning to feel sorta tired. Amidst the more traditional blues guitar riffage lies a vaguely ’90s alterna-rock sound that recalls the early works of killer-yet-forgotten bands like Silverchair. Singer Bickerstaff knows when to keep it quiet and soulful, but isn’t afraid to shout like a motherfucker to set the mood.

Stylistically, this is an odd combination, but Bell’s drum work is always keeping the songs focused even if his partner is all over the map. This makes it seem like each member is an equally important part of a particularly complicated equation. It’s a concept made apparent on songs like album opener “Dreamer”—a pretty head-bobber full of smooth guitar licks and momentarily heavy breakdowns—that heaps together a whole mess of rock and blues methodology and altogether avoids feeling scattered.

The boys do veer perilously close to Dave Matthews Band-ish vocal melodies, but each and every time the tunes approach that laid-back or precious brand of radio rock, they ditch with the cute and head back into a Black Sabbath-y blues-metal shred-a-thon or heavy-hitting drum fill that proves their expert ability to marry soft and hard like a couple of geniuses. - Santa Fe Reporter

"See what ‘Casa de Amor’ is made of: The Lymbs are making videos for the EP"

After releasing their debut five-song EP “Casa de Amor” on Nov. 8, The Lymbs – singer/guitarist Gage Bickerstaff and drummer Jeff Bell – are creating videos for the songs.

The duo are currently working on one for the song “Fires,” and hope to have it ready early in the new year. They also are working to get their music out to the masses.

“We like to play as often as we can. Right now we’re doing about two shows a month,” Bell says. “We’ve slowed down to work on the videos. We’ve been sending the EP out to get some interest from labels, promoters, college radio.”

They have a presence on Sonicbids, and the song “Wicker Man” has been in rotation on “Local Edge,” a local music show Sundays on The Edge (104.7 FM).

The five songs on “Casa de Amor” showcase a minimalist blues funk that builds momentum off Bickerstaff’s soulful vocals. There’s an ambling, rambling ballad (“Dreamer”); corrosive atonal scale blues (“Kerosene”); a soft-loud-soft dynamic (“Blue”); and throbbing synth lines that help build to a clanging, crashing climax (“Fires”).

“The Lymbs are very organic, very raw,” Bell says. “We don’t have a bassist, so we use the synth for the low tones. It’s just more pronounced on ‘Fires.’ ”

The guys have been playing together since August 2011, after Bickerstaff moved back to Albuquerque from L.A.

Drawing influences from progressive blues musicians of the late ’60s, early ’70s and Led Zeppelin, the guys say they get compared to contemporary two-piece groups such as the Black Keys and the White Stripes.

“That doesn’t really mean much,” Bickerstaff says. “Trying to describe our music is irrelevant. Jeff says we sound like whales surfing in the Bahamas, or mountaintops crashing on the heads of elephants.”

“I like to give a sense of imagery,” Bell adds, “so people can go listen to our music instead of us telling you what we are.” - Albuquerque Journal

"The Cure to the Post-Rock Blues — The Lymbs"

Cheers to everything that is Friday night. I sat on the patio of Low Spirits with Jeremy Kinter, who donned a camera like a bolo tie, and the two gentlemen of the Albuquerque-based band The Lymbs. Gage Bickerstaff, guitarist and vocalist, and Jeff Bell, drums, offered up several anecdotes of who The Lymbs are. But with the constant interruptions of whiskey gingers, a blonde, a hippy with a medical marijuana excuse, and the hastily approaching show, only one memorable quote was taken from the table: “We are a new spin on the analog set.”

With that, I stood alone in front of the stage on what would become a packed dance floor. Analog, shmanalog. The only thing on my mind when The Lymbs broke into their set was, “Yes please!” Driven by the distortion, delayed blues, and synth clutch, more of the crowd caught on and made their way to the floor. It became crowded and kinetic, and as Jeremy took trendy action pictures of the show, I found solace at a nearby table. There, I noticed that it took a certain kind of woman to dance to this. The voodoo-hipped, sweaty haired, and willing kind of woman. God bless those women, and bless The Lymbs for contriving those women.

Enough about those women. Gage and Jeff have put together a sound that could be defined the way most people define artists, like if So and So had a baby with Joe Shmoe and then that baby was adopted by that one guy ... but I'm not about to do that. What I will say is this, the musicianship portrayed and felt when listening to the duo is unsurpassed by any local act I've heard for quite some time. During their set, Gage took absolute control of every note he wanted and Jeff was right there to accent them appropriately. At one point Jeff teased his cymbals for an entire song, only to come right back the next, and bash them harder than any drum he had on stage. It was an assault; one that was quickly extinguished by a thick synth loop that laid its blanket over every low spirit. If it wasn't for the necessity of ending their set for other acts, I'm certain the entire crowd would have listened to everything The Lymbs have, and then some.
In the over-saturated realm of rock and roll, The Lymbs have found a mountain of sound to stand on. With the desire to not only be unique, they strive to lyrically inform their stance on culture, love, and the importance of change. In the past month I have gotten to know these gentlemen well, and I feel fortunate for it. I suggest everyone reading this to visit their website, listen to their music, and go see them live. You deserve The Lymbs' post-rock blues the way ginger deserves whiskey.
- Humbird New Mexico

"Articulating the Limbs - Blues Rock Revival gets Hyper-local"

The Limbs have chops. Singer / guitarist Gage Bickerstaff and drummer Jeff Bell conjure sultry rock with a twinge of blues—think late-’60s and ’70s rock infused with The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Robert Johnson.
The Limbs formed last August. In addition to guitar and drums, they've added synthesizer to fill in bass tones. Bell says they want to participate in the blues-rock revival while using digital technology both to create music and connect with fans. Bickerstaff does most of the song-crafting, writing music first, then lyrics. He runs the song drafts by Bell, who weighs in on rhythm and transitions.
A friend introduced them, they jammed together and dug the idea of a duo. And they’re now also roommates. Bell says living and creating together in such close quarters brings opportunities and challenges. Being at arm's reach allows for constant collaboration, but it also endangers the organic process of creating. “We don't want to force the music,” he says.
Both have studied music since childhood. Bell's mother is a music teacher, and he started piano lessons in the third grade. He shifted to drums in fifth grade, back in Little Rock, Ark., and played in bands throughout junior high. In high school, he studied with New Mexico Symphony Orchestra’s Jeff Cornelius. Having grown up performing classical percussion, he relishes standing up front and taking his cues from himself and his bandmate, rather than a conductor.
Carlsbad native Bickerstaff recalls immersing himself in soundscapes at 5 or 6 years old, even if his instruments were just air guitar or an ice scraper. He scored his first guitar from a pawn shop at age 10 and studied classical guitar at Texas Tech. After a stint in a cover band in Carlsbad, he sought out his big break in Los Angeles. A producer there offered to groom him for pop stardom, but he simply wanted to rock. Now, at age 21, he’s continuing his music studies at UNM.
Neither has a hard time nailing down their passion. There's no other option besides music, they say, agreeing it’s their calling. Bickerstaff says he wants to connect emotionally to society through sound. Bell agrees but also notes that his entrepreneurial studies have prepared him for the business and marketing end of The Limbs' endeavor. “In addition to keeping art alive, there's a practical way to look at being in a band,” Bell says.
The Limbs have a self-titled EP out and are working on producing a full-length for release in early 2013. It's tentatively titled Casa de Amor after their house, which was once a well-known party pad. “It's right across from South Lot, the tailgating center of the universe,” says Bell. People still come over looking to live it up.
The next phase of their plan is touring nationally. “I don’t see any other option,” says Bickerstaff. But that plan is on hold until they nab their sheepskins from UNM. They recently tested the waters with a four-day stint in San Diego. The Limbs shared a bill here in Burque with San Diego’s The Plastic Revolution. The southern California punk group liked what they heard and hooked them up with a couple shows.
Bell says audiences there frequently referenced Breaking Bad and said, “So this is what music from New Mexico sounds like.” He set them straight, explaining that Burque has a rich and diverse sonic landscape—including noise and experimental work, rock, metal, classical musicand jazz. And they want everyone to know about the scene here. “We want Albuquerque to be known as this mile-high music mecca in the midst of the Rockies,” he says.
The Limbs are going to drive the girls wild. On “Downtown Blues,” Bickerstaff sings, “All you pretty girls / You tangle up my mind / You’re sweet like candy but you’re bitter in time.” There’s a lot of attitude in their lyrics / but they aren’t cocky. And the two-piece does have a surprisingly expansive sound. Get to the show—also featuring Full Speed Veronica, Sputniq and Broken Animals—and judge for yourself. - Albuquerque Alibi


Moon (2015)
Casa De Amor (2013)



In the postmodern industry of creative art and music, the combination of genre has allowed artists to create new ideas worthy of an intellectual society.

We understand the responsibility of being artists. As rock and roll has advanced in its tumbling, cyclical pattern, it has failed to retain the fundamental notion of music as a voice for social and political awareness - but we remember. Ours is a music that reminisces the past while looking forward to the future. 

Our sound is something like the moment the alternative female rocker all-full-of-holes and the honey-voiced, gravel-skinned bluesman meet eyes across the room, and fall in love.

We exist somewhere between homage and progression; we are a band for the people in the heart of it all.  A duo like no other, The Lymbs currently rock the streets of Albuquerque in hopes to spread their message of social and political awareness, change, and love.

Band Members