The Love X Nowhere
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The Love X Nowhere

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After years of feeling their way through the fog, often to delightfully dreamy results, The Love X Nowhere (pronounced "The Love Times Nowhere") feel they've arrived on their new EP Into the Fire. "It's a really strong step foward," says co-founder Gabriel Leis, "and it makes me very excited about where we're going." The psychedelic pop-rock band's story is built on guitarist/vocalist Leis and keyboardist/vocalist Michael Chulada's unwavering belief that if they stayed true to their muses, a great band would form around them.

When the San Francisco space-rock outfit Maud Dib fell apart in 2002, Leis and Chulada played on as a duo, with Leis singing lead. "When our songs outgrew the two-piece, we decided we wanted to put a band together," he explains, "but we didnt have the musicians. We figured if we made a good enough record, it would probably attract the right people."

The Love X Nowhere's debut EP did exactly that in the spring of 2004. The first key acquistion came in the form of bassist Yuki Kasuya, whose experience upped the band's musical ability and professionalism. They began playing shows and quickly found a following with shoe-gazers who were ready to rock their socks off. When Chulada's brother Brett joined the band during that summer, he turned out to be such a strong singer and guitarist that Leis handed over lead duties. "Brett really made the songs come alive," says Leis, who put his ego aside for the greater good and began focusing on his gloriously atmospheric guitar playing and gorgeous harmony vocals.

The band's second effort, Odyssey, captured a transitional phase. "At first, Brett sang my songs, but then we started writing together, and you hear that relationship just starting on Odyssey," says Leis, who sings lead on two of the six songs. Drummer Adam Perry joined the band last summer and proved to be the final puzzle piece. The band was so excited to feel fully realized that it went into the studio right away, despite having just put out a record.

TLXN recorded Into the Fire at John Vanderslice's fabled analog den, Tiny Telephone, and it will be released only as a limited-edition vinyl EP. "I enjoy the vinyl experience because you can really feel the low end in a way that doesnt translate digitally," claims Leis. Even though the songs swirl with the ambiance and layers of depth that TLXN has become known for, the material was cut live to tape with very few overdubs in just one weekend. "For the first time, the recording reflects what it sounds like when you get these five guys together in a room, rather than a sound that was created layer by layer," Leis says.

It's also the first time that Brett Chulada's darker songwriting plays a primary role. "My songs are more subjective, moodier and have more to do with human emotions than the human condition," he says. Leis adds "As opposed to my lyrics, which are mostly about reconciling a natural and spiritual awareness with the urban experience."

On record, The Love X Nowhere is a trippy, headphone-friendly experience that combines glimmering indie-pop a la Cocteau Twins with the cinematic elements of classic Pink Floyd. Onstage, the the band brings more noise. "We keep the energy level high to make sure heads are bouncing and people are dancing," says Leis. "There's always a pack of girls up front jumping around, which makes us feel pretty good." If some of those girls look a bit sexier than your average City concert-goer, it may be because Michael Chulada is also a DJ at the Gold Club and a few of his co-workers usually show up to support TLXN.
Jimmy Leslie - Oakland Tribune (Jun 7, 2006)
- Oakland Tribune


"The Love X Nowhere's in-orbit rock escapades [and] reach-for-the-sky arrangements bring to mind everyone from Spiritualized to The Verve to Slowdive." -- The Onion, June 2006 - The Onion


Psychedelic done well IS The Love X Nowhere. In a time where the ‘Summer of Love’, ‘Woodstock’ and the ideas of ‘peace and love’ are but a cliché in this modern day of war and economic collapse and we look back over our historic San Francisco 60’s shoulder of free concerts in the Panhandle, acid trips and free love, The Love X Nowhere are alchemists of a new sound era of psychedelia.

Mix one part CBGB’s, two parts Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’, a dash of Miles Davis, a pinch of Warhol’s Factory outakes of The Velvet Underground, blend in some distinctive Bowie, Iggy Pop and Morrisey vocals and you’ve got a recipe for TLXN.

High Score Blackout, the bands latest release, twists ethereal guitar tones, vintage organ sounds, sexy, soaring vocals and the rhythm section of pocket bass and tight kit hits, are masterfully threaded throughout the entire record. The epynymous title track is an epic triumph of trippy instrumentals that takes one on a brilliant crystalline journey. Of special interest, is a penetrating and poignant, spoken word expose written and performed by Jason Morris and TLXN. Still holding ‘Into the Fire’, a previous record release, close to my heart, High Score Blackout has also blithely landed a welcome spot in my heart. This is both a record and band not to be missed!

-Bernadette Bohan

- The Box Factory


The Love X Nowhere sound has drawn many comparisons to Pink Floyd, and it’s obvious why on upon hearing the first psychedelic notes of the band’s upcoming, vinyl EP, Into the Fire. Recorded at Tiny Telephone, engineer Justin Phelps captured the quintet’s headphone (the big-ones, not the iPod ones) music with a lushness last heard on albums from band’s like The Verve and Spaceman 3. As often is the case on vinyl records, the gem is found on the b-side: the sprawling, mellow and upbeat “Spill the Ink,” featuring horns and playful lyrics.
Seamus Williams - Mesh Magazine (May 8, 2006) - Mesh Magazine


Riding a string of four incredible EPs, San Francisco's The Love X Nowhere will stun you with their debut album, High Score Blackout. A smooth combination of psych and indie, The Love X Nowhere take their charm and run with it on hook-heavy showstoppers 'Din' and 'Terra Fuego.' Yet, High Score Blackout's depth runs deep with rich shoegazer melodies on 'Northern Times' and 'Twilight Mourning.' Coming off years of honing their now-trademark sound, The Love X Nowhere have created a masterful album that fans of Blonde Redhead, Doves and Spiritualized are sure to notice and pick up. - WLUR 91.5 FM


Guitars with delay, alternative 90's sounding drums - The Love X Nowhere is going for epic dream rock, but it is also tight, groovy and layered. They're lost in the sound and they have no reason to find their way out. Come get lost with them, it should be a good adventure.

Preview by: Justin Rands
Justin Rands - LoudFarm (Aug 20, 2009)
- LoudFarm


"Indie" doesn't do justice to the Love X Nowhere's lush blend of pretty and trippy. The local 'group' laces together its shoe-gazer tendencies and obvious taste for Zeppelin-era prog-rock with oblique, psychedelic flourishes reminiscent of early Blonde Redhead. - Bill Picture, SF Chronicle - SF Chronicle


The San Francisco based band, The Love X Nowhere brings their unique mellow, psychedelic infused rock to Café Du Nord on Tuesday, October 4. Celebrating the release of their second EP, Odyssey, The Love X Nowhere's latest album has the kind of sound that seems all too appropriate for San Francisco.

Languid, contemplative, and vaguely melancholy, many of the songs from Odyssey seem well suited for a foggy and cool evening in the city. The Love X Nowhere was spawned by founding members Gabriel and Michael. Formerly the frontmen for the space rock influenced Muad Dib, it's clear a similar sound and feel has directed the song production of The Love X Nowhere.
matt forsman - sfstation - SF Station


Everyone please thank San Francisco for once more, creating our next favorite up and coming band. The Love X Nowhere self-describe themselves as a “rainy night,” but their music is anything but dreary. ... With intricate piano and guitar and poignant lyrics that will take you to another place, Love X Nowhere is better than anything Chris Martin could ever attempt and cloud your mind and soul just as Radiohead does.
Patrisha Wysopal - Zero Magazine - Zero Magazine


I lived in San Francisco from 2002 to 2008, and in that time (age 21 to 27) I played the drums in several fledging bands, from Power (with members of Burdenhand) and Sunfire Pleasure (now the New Up) to Exit Music (with members of Boyskout) and several pickup bands with David Gans of the Grateful Dead Hour and members of the Dead, Phil Lesh & Friends and Ratdog. But my most consistently rewarding musical experience in California was playing in a psychedelic indie dream-rock band called TLXN (”The Love X Nowhere” or “The Love Times Nowhere”) from Summer 2005 to Summer 2007.

TLXN, who just released their debut full-length LP High Score Blackout with their polished and talented new drummer Mie Araki, are a well-known entity in San Francisco due to live shows at prestigious venues like The Independent, Bottom of the Hill, Cafe Du Nord and Slim’s; flattering press in publications like the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, Mesh and the Onion; opening slots for established bands like Dredg, Ozric Tentacles and Calla; and keyboardist Michael Chulada’s polarizing TLXN stencils all over town.

TLXN released their debut self-titled EP in 2004 and, according to Dave Pehling of SF Weekly, “hit their stride” in 2006 with the release of a vinyl-only EP called Into the Fire, an ambitious all-analog foray we recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studios in December 2005. The four-song Into the Fire release included a 13-minute b-side which included a few verses and choruses of a song called “Spill the Ink” — which is sort of like Radiohead interpreting the Grateful Dead’s “Eyes of the World” — and then a 10-minute group improvisation including jazz trumpet. It’s something I still enjoy listening to on long walks along Ocean Beach in San Francisco, cross-country flights, and once even a busride from Gerona, Spain to Barcelona.

When I joined TLXN in 2005, they’d just finished recording their Odyssey EP, which featured stellar, engaging and subtly dark indie-pop tracks like “Life Divine” and “Coming Down” and the crazy rhythms of “Sympathy.” We had a fun, encouraging and exciting time performing on the heels of that release and then also debuting and promoting the songs from Into the Fire. Unfortunately, the tangible buzz and momentum we built up in 2005 and 2006 via grassroots efforts was all but demolished by taking on a manager who urged us to quit the grassroots thing and let him take the reins, at which time he literally disappeared. I split with the band the next year, but in truth TLXN’s music kept getting better despite what earnest, deep-voiced singer/guitarist Gabriel Leis calls experiencing “success knocking at the door only to find nothing but the wind outside,” or something.



Anyway, TLXN’s new LP is a lot more diverse and professional than their three self-released EPs, finally highlighting the brilliant keyboard and piano of Chulada, letting Leis indulge in creative and enticing ballads and embracing Japanese bassist Yuki Kasuya’s meandering, meaningful electric prowess. High Score Blackout includes gentle ballads, churning hard-rock freakouts, simple pseudo-jazz improvisations and even a heated spoken-word performance from San Francisco poet Jason Morris. The album disappoints at times by lacking focus, but it’s definitely an impressive and enjoyable accomplishment.

Despite, or maybe because of, my respect for and continued interest in The Love X Nowhere, it saddens me to see supposed-hipsters in San Francisco ripping the band. One blogger recently even said that his only wish for TLXN was for someone to pour bong-water in their equipment so they’d be electrocuted to death. Constructive criticism and differences in taste are one thing, but hurtful comments about strangers — especially behind the vail of a childish blog — just seem wrong.

So it was a little painful to see Leis, a cherished and admired friend of mine, talk about “frustration and defiance” in the face of such rejection. Although they’ve sold out venues like Cafe Du Nord and put out records all the San Francisco newspapers hailed, TLXN has never been an “in” band in the Bay Area; those spots are continually saved for brilliant out-there acts like Deerhoof who transcend the need for local attention and shallow, pandering “cool” bands like Birdmonster and Film School, the kind of accessible groups that get ass-kissings from Live105 or Bagel Radio for a few months and then fade into the scrap heap of derivative blah. Sincerely, many of the best Bay Area bands I’ve heard have had to leave Northern California to get noticed.

Regardless, I wouldn’t claim that TLXN is one of the best bands in Northern California — at the moment I’m not immersed in that scene enough to make such claims. But if you’re into bands like Slowdive, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Grizzly Bear, I would definitely recommend checking out all four of their releases, which are available on iTunes and can be streamed at thelovexnowhere.com. Better yet, if you’re an established band that digs TLXN’s music and finds kinship in it, I suggest taking them on tour with you. Just be prepared to share your Fernet.

- Adam Perry 6/24/09 - Beautiful Buzz


Discography

2004 Debut EP
2005 Odyssey EP
2006 Into the Fire (vinyl only)
2009 High Score Blackout

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Bio

"The term 'indie' doesn’t do justice to The Love X Nowhere's lush blend of pretty and trippy. The [San Francisco] group laces together its shoe-gazer tendencies and obvious taste for Zeppelin-era prog-rock with oblique, psychedelic flourishes reminiscent of Blonde Redhead." -- Bill Picture, San Francisco Chronicle

The Love X Nowhere (say it with us: "The Love TIMES Nowhere") makes San Francentric music that drops like sparks from the MUNI lines on a rainy night.

With a nod to the past and their eyes on the future, TLXN pushes forward a new version of indie-psych and post-rock, abandoning the restraint usually associated with those genres. Cocteau-heavy guitars dripping with the sway of chorus and delay; analog synth as at home with The Cars as Meddle-era Pink Floyd; a rhythm section both delicate and grand, drawing from their shared experience as Japanese immigrants to San Francisco, and a saucerful of psychedelia that'd make most jambands blush. At the same time, the back-to-birth dynamic of brothers Michael and Brett Chulada brings a layer of sensitivity and depth to which the kids aspire and their contemporaries relate. This musical bedding surrounds the harmony-and-melody-driven songs of writing team Brett Chulada and Gabriel Leis, two vocalist-guitarists whose teamwork and playful competition continues to knock out gem after gem of original songs.