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Guided By Voices, Fastbacks, Others Team For Kosovo Benefit MP3 Album

Online collection includes 11 previously unreleased tracks by Creeper Lagoon, Superchunk, Cat Power.

The latest effort to relieve the suffering of Kosovar refugees comes

with a decidedly independent slant -- artistically and commercially.

Once and current indie-rockers including Guided by Voices, the Fastbacks,

Creeper Lagoon, Cat Power, Superchunk and X's John Doe have contributed

previously unreleased songs to the CARE for Kosovo benefit

album. First made available Monday, the project is on sale exclusively

in the downloadable MP3 format.

"The technology is very interesting," Fastbacks songwriter/guitarist

Kurt Bloch said. "It's really great to be able to do something in an

instantaneous manner." The Seattle guitar-pop band contributed "I'll

Return" (RealAudio excerpt).

The MP3 format (short for Moving Pictures Experts Group, audio layer

3) allows listeners to download near-CD-quality music from the

Internet. Because there are no physical products to manufacture and

distribute, the project was organized, assembled and released in about

six weeks, album producer Jordan Kurland said.

The full 11-track album can be downloaded from the Internet label

Emusic.com for $8.99, or for 99 cents per track. All proceeds will

benefit CARE, as will an additional $50,000 donation from Emusic.

The flexibility of the MP3 format will allow Emusic to add more bands

to the CARE For Kosovo album later if others want to participate,

Kurland said.

SonicNet is an advertising partner in Emusic's CARE for Kosovo

project.

Proceeds from CARE for Kosovo will benefit the Cooperative for

Assistance and Relief Everywhere, a nonprofit group providing food,

water, shelter materials and land-mine-removal education to refugees returning

to the Urosevac region of Kosovo.

Guitarist Sharky Laguana of the eclectic San Francisco Bay Area pop

band Creeper Lagoon said he can identify in a small way with refugees

-- he found himself homeless and was helped by the Red Cross when a fire forced

him out of his San Francisco apartment two years ago. His band offered

"The Fountain" for the compilation.

"I can relate to being burned out," Laguana, 29, said. "I can't imagine

how much more terrifying that would have been if soldiers had come

and forced me to leave."

A 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

officially came to an end Sunday with the final withdrawal of

Yugoslav forces from the province of Kosovo. NATO initiated the

bombing to stop what member nations, including the United States,

called a policy of ethnic cleansing against Albanians by Serbian

forces under the direction of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Milosevic later was indicted as a war criminal by the International

War Crimes Tribunal.

Since bombing was halted last week, Albanian Kosovars who had fled to

nearby Albania and Macedonia have begun streaming back into the

province. NATO has discovered about 50 mass graves containing hundreds

of massacred Kosovars, according to the Associated Press. News

reports surfaced this weekend revealing that returning refugees have

begun looting and destroying property of the now-fleeing Serbians.

The album's full track listing: Guided by Voices, "Surgical Focus"

(demo); Creeper Lagoon, "The Fountain"; Eric Bachman, "A Little

Bleeding" (live); Superchunk, "Tiny Bombs"; Momus, "Fatman, the War

Photographer"; John Doe, "Sueltame"; Spoon, "Me and the Bean"; Serum,

"Tonight"; the Fastbacks, "I'll Return"; Firesided,

"The Sun and the Rainfall"; and Cat Power, "Paths of Victory" (live).