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5 things to know about Windows in the Sky by Alex Henry Foster

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As published in The Vancouver Sun

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Windows in the Sky | Hopeful Tragedy Records

Those who watched the Canadian music charts the week of Nov. 9 were scratching their heads when Alex Henry Foster’s debut album came in at #6 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. SoundScan reporting for Quebec sales over the next two weeks showed the Montrealer hitting top spot in the charts and reaching #3 nationally just behind powerhouses Muse and Imagine Dragons.

So who is this guy?

Well, apparently his old band is big in Japan. Foster plays in the 2015 Juno Award nominees Your Favourite Enemies whose 2014 album Between Illness and Migration had a Rock Album of the Year nod. If you don’t remember it, don’t beat yourself up. That category has given us, among others, such memorable acts as Finger Eleven, Sum 41 and Slik Toxik. Your Favourite Enemies are still active with a new album in the works.

Windows in the Sky dropped without any advance hype or tours announcements although Foster has said that there are plans in 2019 to take it on the road with a multimedia project. YFE are likely back in the new year too. But right now the focus is on this suddenly successful solo album.

Here are five things to know about it:

1: Full-on Post-Rockin’ Roll. Huge cascading guitar chords, echoed spoken word vocals, distantly reverberating choruses and as much overlaid orchestration as you can fit on a track. Songs such as Winter is Coming in sound like Bullet the Blue Sky U2 channelling Loveless era My Bloody Valentine by way of a band on Fluttery Records. It’s a big sound.

2: Seasonal sounds. If there is one thing Canada needs more of, it’s expansive and atmospheric music that goes well with snuggling down in a warm room for a few months until the “beautiful shivers go goodbye.” That may mean Snowflakes in July in this nation, but it’s all good.

3: Cool entry/exit. The Pain that Bonds (The Beginning is the End) opens the eight song album. The Love that Moves (The End is Beginning) closes it. The two songs intertwine not just in titles, but in build. Slow moody chording becomes more urgent and smashing in the opening, more distant and evolving in the closer. If the views we are supposed to be seeing in our Windows in the Sky are akin to a cranial train ride through an imagined landscape; then this works like a sonic journey.

4: The Hunter (By the Seaside Window). Perhaps in homage to his Japanese fans — the album was launched in a series of live listening sessions in Japan — this nearly 15 minute-long workout has a secondary vocalist saying something in Japanese as Foster’s vocals grow more and more paranoid. Fans of serious guitar noise must check this out.

5: Yes, it’s about grief. Windows in the Sky was written in isolation as Foster worked through the passing of his father following a long battle with cancer. It’s exploration of devotion, loss, sorrow, grief and exhaustion will echo with many who have been through such a process. Perhaps that is why the album resonated with so many, as the population ages this story becomes more and more repeated.

Stuart Derdeyn
November 27, 2018

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A redemptive journey for Alex Henry Foster

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As published in L’Express

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He is the leader of the Drummondville band Your Favorite Enemies

What was supposed to be an exile in Morocco for Alex Henry Foster became a source of inspiration for his solo album “Windows in the Sky”, released only a few days ago. Already, his work is charting at the top, ahead of big acts like Marie-Mai, Muse and Imagine Dragons.

The unexpected success story began two years ago. As the band Your Favorite Enemies thought they had ended a musical cycle, Alex Henry Foster decided to withdraw himself and headed to Tangier, to get inspired and work on the band’s next album.

“The last ten years have been quite busy for the band and as we’re independent in all the spheres of an album production, we were exhausted. While exiling myself, I could dive into a calm universe after the YFE storm had hit. I felt inspired and I created my solo album”, said Mr. Foster.

Slowly, the texts appeared, without music. Alongside other collaborations, his bandmate Ben Lemelin joined him to create a melody that would accompany the words of the singer. He even set a studio in the heart of Tangier.

“This album is my identity. I didn’t want for the other members of the band to carry my stories. The passing of my father inspired me and this is a personal feeling. It’s some kind of a therapy, an album to deliver myself. But with time, they kindly wanted to get involved musically”, added Alex Henry Foster who is presently in Virginia to work on other projects.

It’s without much fanfare that, on November 9, he released “Windows in the Sky”, consisting of eight songs. Rapidly, the album made it to the top of the Quebec charts.

“I didn’t do any promotion around this album. I first unveiled it in Canada to thank people from here and went to Japan for a listening session. It was a gift to myself to share my songs this way, added Mr. Foster. I didn’t expect this success at all, as I didn’t do it in this perspective, it was rather a more artistic approach. It’s not the type of music that plays on the radio, especially not with tracks going up to 14 minutes.”

Projects for Your Favorite Enemies

Despite Alex Henry Foster’s solo project and, among others, his collaborations to movie soundtracks, YFE is not dead. The main one concerned absolutely wanted to add precision to the orientation of the band, which resides in the former Saint-Simon church in Drummondville.

“We’re all exploring other things presently. We’ll get back together and be able to share our emotions. The band’s unity is always there, and I’m sure we’ll be able to feel the excitement of everyone in due time” concluded Mr. Foster.

Ghyslain Bergeron
Friday November 23, 2018

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Alex Henry Foster Breaks Big With Solo Debut

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As published in FYI Music News

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Canadian music industry chart watchers may well have registered surprise at spotting the high placings for Montrealer Alex Henry Foster’s debut solo album Windows in the Sky.

It came in at No. 6 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart, while SoundScan reports showed in hit #1 in sales in Quebec in its first week of release (it came out on Nov. 9) and No. 3 nationally behind Muse and Imagine Dragons. The album stayed at the #1 position in the iTunes charts for five consecutive days last week, in front of The Beatles, Queen, and Lady Gaga, while the first video, “Summertime Departures,” has quickly earned 100K YouTube views. Released on Hopeful Tragedy Records, the album is distributed by Sony Music / The Orchard.

Foster’s name may be unfamiliar to many, but he has enjoyed prior international success (in Japan, especially) as the singer and principal songwriter in adventurous rock band Your Favorite Enemies, 2015 Juno nominees for Rock Album of the Year for their 2014 release, Between Illness and Migration.

Making the chart success of Windows in the Sky even more impressive is the fact that it arrived without any advance hype. Contacted by FYI, Foster explains that “the whole idea of releasing the record without any form of promotion was based on the fact that I wanted the music and its emotions to bloom on their own rights, and to only do what I want and love.”

“The last record we released with Your Favorite Enemies, the one that was nominated for a Juno, kept us on the road for almost five years. It burned me out completely.”

No tour dates have been announced to support the new record, but Foster advices patience. “Windows in the Sky is a multi-media project involving projections and conceptual lights, so I want to play the album in a different set up from our usual rock n roll format, and share a different type of moment and experience. That’s a long answer to say I will play the record live and will let you know the ‘when,’ the ‘where’ and the ho” at the beginning of 2019.”

To its creator, “Windows in the Sky was already a success the moment I decided to release an 8-song LP with a 15-minute song standing midway on an hour-long album! Success is truly a matter of perspective.”

As for the future of YFE, Foster explains that “everything is pretty open right now. We have a lot of never-released material from the productions of previous albums, and we recently gathered all together in Tangier to work on new songs.

“It’s important for me to say that Your Favorite Enemies are still alive and well. It’s only that with Windows in the Sky and some OST projects that I have going on with Ben (YFE’s guitar player and producer), it’s more difficult for us to define the ‘when’ from the ‘what’ we want to share with people. YFE has never been known for following the logical and well-travelled career path that’s supposed to lead to success or God knows where. So I guess that this alternative way to operate will be even more eclectic now that we have different projects blooming alongside one another. ‘We’ll see’ is all I can say for now.”

To spot future YFE shows, fans will need to be vigilant. “After the last concert we did in New York a little over two years ago, we all agreed we wouldn’t go back on a stage until we either had a new album to share with the people or festivals to check off our bucket list,” says Foster.

“We’ve been playing under different names once in while, though. Look out for “Burroughs Was a 2-Step Ballet Dancer” or “We Are Not a Death Metal Band, We Just Look Cool” in a town near you… This might become an intimate evening with Your Favorite Enemies!”

Kerry Doole
Friday November 23, 2018

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“Windows in the Sky” on “Salut Bonjour”, TVA

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As seen on episode 6423 of “Salut Bonjour”

As seen on Quebec morning show “Salut Bonjour” on TVA on November 21, 2018, Alex Henry Foster’s first solo album, “Windows in the Sky”, reached the top of the Canadian charts within the first days of its release and left no one indifferent.

Hear how the album became the talk of the town in this excerpt.

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Alex Henry Foster: An Unexpected Success!

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As published in the Journal de Montréal

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The Quebecer, Alex Henry Foster sold more albums than Marie-Mai

With its 4,504 copies, “Windows in the Sky”, from Alex Henry Foster, ended the week of November 15 at the top of the Quebec album sales, ahead of Muse’s “Simulation Theory” (4,211), “À jamais” from Ginette Reno (4,172), “Elle et moi” from Marie-Mai (3,044) and “Origins”, from Imagine Dragons (2,492).

Muse, Imagine Dragons and Marie-Mai released their new album on November 9. Who sold the most copies after one week of release in Quebec? None of the three. All the honors go to Alex Henry Foster, a Drummondville rocker.

“Windows in the Sky”, solo project of Quebec band Your Favorite Enemies’ lead singer, shook everyone, according to the weekly Nielsen SoundScan reports. He got ahead of Muse, Ginette Reno, Marie-Mai and Imagine Dragons. Nothing less.”I’m speechless. This is beyond me!”, confides Foster to the newspaper.

In Canada, “Windows in the Sky”, ended its first week in third position, behind Muse and Imagine Dragons.

To say that Alex Henry Foster is surprised is an understatement. He had such low expectations, to the point that he barely announced the release of his album, about one week prior to its release. His promotional campaign was that minimalist that Le Journal has been the first media to interview him.

A surprise

Yet, on Tuesday, Alex Henry Foster’s album was still in full swing. It landed a 4th position in the top sellers on the Canadian iTunes online store, behind the newly-released albums of Fred Pellerin, Michael Bublé, and Mumford and Sons.

The astonishment is even more surprising as “Windows in the Sky” is to the opposite of what a commercial success in 2018 should be made of. Its long tracks are an average of five minutes – The Hunter (By the Seaside Window) culminates at 14 minutes 18 seconds – and leads towards a post-rock that recalls the most exploratory movements of progressive rock.

Therefore, when we ask Foster to explain his album’s success, he can only throw hypothesis. “People probably need to hear this type of music, to live something else, to hear other sounds. Maybe it feels good to hear a 15-minute song that makes no sense on a commercial level.”

Adventure

Despite this unexpected success, Your Favorite Enemies’ future, a band that sure knew how to build a solid network of admirers all around the globe, notably in Japan, is not jeopardized.

“It’s far from being the end of the adventure. To the contrary, what I’m living on my end will allow us to explore other things when we’ll be getting back together”, assures Alex Henry Foster.

For now, Foster, who’s already working on other musical projects, hasn’t planned a series of concerts. But he admits that this unexpected success “gives me this desire to push further and see where this adventure will lead me”.

Cédric Bélanger
Tuesday November 20, 2018

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WINDOWS IN THE SKY CHARTS HIGH

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We could not be more thankful for your unconditional love and support, especially with such an intimate and personal album! “Windows in the Sky”, Alex’s first solo album, remained #1 in the iTunes charts ahead of major acts such as Muse, Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga and Queen for 5 consecutive days, is now #1 All Categories in Quebec, #1 in the Digital Albums chart in Canada and #3 All Categories right behind Muse and Imagine Dragons in the Canadian SoundScan top 200 chart!

Beyond those numbers, we are speechless and thankful since this happened without radio and media, but only between us! It’s an inspiring message for DIY artists who still believe that music can move us. Alex gave everything in this album, opening up on what he’s been going through, adding words on grief, sorrows, love, hope and faith, all deeply rooted inside of him.

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“Summertime Departures” [Lyric Video]

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“Summertime Departures” is the first single off Alex Henry Foster’s first solo album, “Windows in the Sky”.

Written between Tangier and Montreal, “Windows in the Sky” has been crafted in a fragile state of emotional isolation following the passing of his father, a devoted believer to whom he was estranged, after a long battle with cancer. Foster explores the nature of faithlessness, sorrows and solitude while trying to find hopeful directions within the disorientation and the confusion brought about by grief.

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Summertime Departures

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“Summertime Departures” is the first single off Alex’s first album, “Windows in the Sky”. Dive into its unique universe, let the sounds transport you away, let the words define new meanings… and enjoy, fully! Listen to the complete track now on SoundCloud!

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“Windows in the Sky” : Available Now!

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“Windows in the Sky” is the first solo album by Alex Henry Foster,
lead singer and songwriter for the Juno Awards nominee post-rock band Your Favorite Enemies.

Written between Tangier and Montreal, “Windows in the Sky” has been crafted in a fragile state of emotional isolation following the passing of his father, a devoted believer to whom he was estranged, after a long battle with cancer. Foster explores the nature of faithlessness, sorrows and solitude while trying to find hopeful directions within the disorientation and the confusion brought about by grief.

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The album, minute by minute

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Windows in the Sky, which will be released on November 9, is composed of 8 tracks, none of which are below 5 minutes. In all, you get 1 hour of music, mixing elements of post-rock, shoegaze, noise psych, all wrapped in an avant-garde voicing of spoken poetry.

The Pain That Bonds (The Beginning Is the End) (5:01)
Winter Is Coming In (7:45)
Shadows of Our Evening Tides (7:43)
The Hunter (By the Seaside Window) (14:37)
Snowflakes in July (7:18)
Summertime Departures (5:23)
Lavender Sky (6:17)
The Love That Moves (The End Is Beginning) (7:33)

And don’t forget, you are invited to listen to the whole album with Alex during a live broadcast on Facebook on November 10, 9:00am (ET).

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