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