Kaia Wilson's voice pierces deeply but, somehow, softly: Hushed but direct, lilting but experienced, her coo on Godmakesmonkeys—the ex-Butchies' third solo outing, recorded before she left North Carolina for Portland in 2005 and finally issued by Portland label Jealous Butcher—wraps the listener in lullaby feelings. That's the flipside of the impassioned yelping she lent to The Butchies and Team Dresch. Over a spare, percussion-less palette, Wilson shakes loose romantic notions and tender thoughts.
The bulk of the tracks here are only acoustic guitar and vocals, an occasional electric lead adding dynamics and contrast. The whisper-soft "I Got You" is an internal dialogue of longing, a laundry list of unfulfilled desires sung over the titular phrase, repeated like a mantra in the background. "Dogs/ Trucks" bears a country twist, evidence of Wilson's decade-plus in North Carolina. It's not all so simple, though: Wilson stacks the harmonies on "Matter/ Molecules/ Thrills," pairing the line "We're all together hiking up these hills/ Looking at matter and molecules on a steady course for thrills" against a tremolo guitar lead.
While the 14 tracks slip by quickly and perhaps to little consequence, they leave you with the impression you've just shared a vulnerable moment with a stranger. And she seems thankful you were around to lend an ear.
Kaia Wilson returns to the Triangle for a show at Nightlight Saturday, Oct. 11, at 10 p.m. Birds & Arrows and The Antlers open.