Ride released three EPs, Ride, Play, and Fall, prior to the release of Nowhere.Nowhere was recorded live-in-the-studio with producer Marc Waterman. Waterman had a mental breakdown, which resulted in Alan Moulder mixing the recordings.
The album cover features an uncrested wave photographed by Warren Bolster. The original LP cover artwork had the band name in embossed text centered in the upper half and an embossed album title in the lower right corner. The original cassette and CD releases featured no band name or album title on the cover, but sometimes came with an identifying sticker on the outside of the CD or cassette case. For the 2001 CD re-release, the band name and title were printed visibly on the cover in the locations of the LP's embossed text. The 2011 Rhino Handmade edition features a lenticular design of the wave.
Nowhere was released by Creation Records on 15 October 1990. The album was issued in the United States in December 1990 by Sire Records, featuring three bonus tracks culled from the band's Fall EP. A 2001 reissue by Ignition Records further added the four songs from the band's Today Forever EP as bonus tracks. In February 2011, Rhino Handmade released a special 20th anniversary edition of Nowhere, featuring the remastered original album with seven bonus tracks, plus a bonus disc featuring a previously unreleased live performance at The Roxy in Los Angeles recorded on 10 April 1991. The set also includes a 40-page booklet with exclusive photos and a new essay by music critic Jim DeRogatis, as well as a lenticular-covered digipak book. In conjunction with the re-release, the band performed the album in its entirety at a series of live shows in October 2015.
AllMusic has cited the album as one of the greatest albums of the shoegazing genre.Nowhere was voted number 74 on Pitchfork Media's list of the Top 100 Albums of the 1990s. The track "Vapour Trail" was voted at number 145 on Pitchfork's Top 200 Tracks of the 90s and at number 81 on NME's 100 Best Tracks of the Nineties. The album is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was ranked at number 277 on Spin's "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)" list.
The tracks from the Fall EP and the Nowhere LP were all recorded in sessions at Blackwing Studios over the summer of 1990 and were always intended to complement each other. They shared one track ("Dreams Burn Down") and the other 3 EP tracks were added to the CD release of Nowhere in the UK originally as “bonus tracks”. When Nowhere was released in North America and Japan, the 11 track version became the default.
All songs were equally credited to Ride (Andy Bell, Loz Colbert, Mark Gardener, Steve Queralt). Lyrics by Andy Bell, except where noted.