Gabriel Kahane's Open Arms

The singer's grand, sweeping take on pop

Arms' sonic depth demands close listening, which is something that's increasingly difficult in the iTunes era; music is relegated to background noise for firing off e-mails, catching up on Twitter, or being interviewed in a bar. (Two songs on the ReBar sound system manage to break into our conversation: Robyn's plaintive ode to unavailable men "Call Your Girlfriend" and Animal Collective's pop-song-in-disguise "My Girls.") Kahane's demanding schedule, he admits, makes it difficult for him to keep up on new music in an active way.

"I feel like the time that I listen to new records is when I cook, because I really love to cook, and it's the only time where I can actually multitask," he says. "Because I can't listen to music and write and e-mail. It's too distracting for me."

Which might be why he has a public service announcement for overworked listeners—even those people who might be too enmeshed in writing music to take a break and open their ears.

A rare break: Gabriel Kahane
Josh Goleman
A rare break: Gabriel Kahane

"I just want people to go home and get a glass of scotch and sit down and listen to a record."

Gabriel Kahane plays Littlefield on September 14

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