Beth Ditto covers one of Dave Segals Tommy James songs; praiseworthy words ensue.
Beth Ditto covers one of Dave Segal's favorite Tommy James songs; praiseworthy words ensue. Mary McCartney

Beth Ditto, "I'm Alive" (Capitol). Powerhouse dance-music diva Beth Ditto covering one of my favorite Tommy James songs, "I'm Alive," a euphoric garage-psych track from 1968 that I've spun in many a DJ set? I'm here for it. The former Gossip frontwoman wisely doesn't deviate much from the original's template (Johnny Thunder actually recorded it first, fact fans). In a press release, Ditto says, "Being alive is radical right now! So let's live!" She adds that she covered "I'm Alive" to defy "the darkness of the current social and political landscape." The beats here are a bit beefier, per 2018 specs, but overall the song's special "anything's possible/I'm so fucking high on life" vibe is captured, and Ditto and company belt it out of the ballpark with panache. (Beth Ditto plays the Showbox Thursday, March 29.)

Daniel Avery, "Slow Fade" (Mute). British producer/DJ Daniel Avery returns with a chill, glazed slice of slo-mo techno that sounds like early-'90s Aphex Twin on Ambien. It's a nice little evocation of dreamy stasis that feels practically therapeutic at this moment in history. "Slow Fade" comes from an EP of the same name, out today. Slow Fade precedes Avery's full-length, Song for Alpha, out April 6.

K. Leimer, “Dunne Luft” (Origin Peoples). K. Leimer was one of Seattle's brightest stars in the city's nascent experimental-electronic-music scene during the '70s and '80s. Recent archival digs of his inventive, exotic excursions from labels like RVNG Intl. and Leimer's own revived Palace of Lights have shed light on an obscure figure who created a panoply of distinctive tracks that have weathered the passage of time extremely well. It wouldn't be too farfetched to call Leimer the Eno/Hassell of the Northwest. And he's still operating at optimal levels, as his new album, Mitteltöner, proves. It's an homage to the pastoral, kosmische musik of Cluster, Popol Vuh, and Autobahn-era Kraftwerk, and "Dunne Luft" epitomizes its air of stately beauty, Teutonic wonder, and precision propulsion. ("Dunne Luft" comes from the vinyl LP, Mitteltöner, out January 26. Disclosure: I've done some work for Origin Peoples.)

Lea Bertucci, "Patterns for Alto" (NNA Tapes). New York composer Lea Bertucci gets down to the crux of the matter with a moiré-patterned display of saxophonic ear-trickery. This is riveting minimalism that harks back to Paul Horn's splendid-isolation flute flutterings from his Inside LP and some of Terry Riley's all-night flights in the FX'd-brass ether. Listen and feel your third ear tickled and twisted into silky convolutions. ("Patterns for Alto" comes from Bertucci's new album, Metal Aether, out February 9.)

Screens, "Lost Sailor" (self-released). Local band Screens come correct with a lovely cover of the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir-sung "Lost Sailor," a track off their 1980 LP, Go to Heaven. Screens—Allison Tulloss, Carlos Tulloss (also of Afrocop), Doug Port—add even more stardust luster to the original's mellowed-to-perfection lassitude, and psychedelicize it beyond the call of duty. ("Lost Sailor" is part of the Dead Cover Project 2018.)

Noteworthy January 19 album releases: Laraaji, Vision Songs, Vol. 1 (Numero Group); tUnE-yArDs, I can feel you creep into my private life (4AD); Meat Beat Manifesto, Impossible Star (Virtual Label); Black Label Society, Grimmest Hits (Entertainment One); Cadence Weapon, Cadence Weapon (Entertainment One); First Aid Kit, Ruins (Columbia); They Might Be Giants, I Like Fun (Idlewild); Xylouris White, Mother (Bella Union); The Shins, The Worm's Heart (Columbia); The Go! Team, Semicircle (Memphis Industries); Porches, The House (Domino); Salad Boys, This Is Glue (Trouble in Mind); The Bad Plus, Never Stop II (Legbreaker); Walking Papers, WP2 (Loud & Proud); Shopping, The Official Body (FatCat).