First, let me set things strait. I'm exhausted. I've been working 18 - 27 hour shifts all week in Joplin, MO at the disaster relief headquarters, so if these Sabbaths are a little late over the next few weeks, now you know why. I had mentioned in the previous two Sabbaths that for a while The Indie Sabbath is going to step away from its usual format and follow my work here in Joplin, as well as raising awareness for the people in the city of Joplin. I'm going to be writing about some pretty real shit, and if you don't want to read it, just download the music. There are some great new tracks from the past week, so be sure to check them out. When you see something in quotations that means its directly out of the journal I've been keeping. Let's get started.
PSYCH! First let me talk about the music this week, since that is what this is all about anyway. Here's a list of the albums that impressed me the most:
White Denim - D
Planning to Rock - W
Stornoway - 4AD Session EP
Joseph Arthur - The Graduation Ceremony
The Most Serene Republic - Pre Serene: Thee Oneironauts
Ear Pwr - Ear Pwr
Brendan Perry - Ark
Mist - House
Nat Baldwin - People Changes
Ash Black Buffalo - Andasol
She Wants Revenge - Valleyheart
"Wintersun" by Brendan Perry is both beautiful and haunting, and I figured it was a good way to kick off the post, considering the content. There's a bit more of the electro-sounding indie this week than usual, but tracks like "Wildfire" I just couldn't pass up. I could go on and on about each song this week- its one of my favorite collections, but I'm just gonna let them speak for themselves. Lets get started.
Listen to "Wintersun" by Brendan Perry while reading.
Last Sunday my team of volunteers and I drove from Denver to Joplin. We had no idea what we would be doing, how much work would be requested of us, or even exactly what our sleeping arrangements were. All we knew was that the city of Joplin had been ripped in half by a force of nature unlike anything the majority of this world has ever seen. When we arrived at the University, well- let me just post what I wrote in my journal about it.
This is a video I took outside the city of Joplin. We aren't allowed to drive within the city yet because they haven't been able to locate all of the bodies and are still searching. Just to give you an idea- the city is about 3x as bad as this. There is nothing standing where the tornado went through. Keep the people of Joplin in your prayers.
"We arrived in Joplin (Tuesday) to huge crowds, a mix of families looking for information about missing loved ones, volunteers, government officials, all surrounding the front of the university. It was the epitome of a clusterfuck. We drove in and waited outside for an hour while people figured out what to do with us. Finally we were told to go down and unpack. Our living arrangement is a dance room next to the basketball courts at the university. I spent the better part of that day filtering through different orders from different people, stress smoking cigarettes and putting together the volunteer response Facebook page."
The first day was, to say the least, crazy. The relief effort was still a work in progress, and like in any disaster, the first 48 or so hours following are just pure fucking chaos. We had a debriefing later that night, and about halfway through this the sirens went off.
"During the day another system had been creeping its way along the midwest, causing large tornados all across Oklahoma and Kansas. The mass contained 3 major super cells, and they were bearing down on us. We all went into the theatre downstairs and listened to mixed reports about the tornado(s), tried to find updates for what was going on, check our Facebooks and listened to that god awful siren for who knows how long. Eventauly the sirens went off and I went to bed."
The second day things began to get a bit organized. I had a chance to go out into the field, and I was blown away by what I saw.
"Today I went out into the field. I spent the morning gawking at the destruction, and going door to door to fill out intake forms and have homeowners sign waivers so that volunteers can begin to cut down trees, clean up debris and put tarps on roofs, etc...
...Some of the people were very receptive, others were to emotionally distraught to even engage in much of a conversation. There was crying, on both sides of some of our conversations, no matter how hard I tried to hold it in. Sometimes you just can't, even if its just a few drops for a second or two. The extremity of what I saw today- the devastation- was unlike anything I've ever seen before- and I didn't even get to go to the worst parts of the disaster. I saw "I" Beams bent around trees, cars on top of each other, schools literally torn in half and entire neighborhood reduced to nothing...
...In the afternoon I went around in area 2, ranking different homes and tallying them either as "severe" (complete disarray or unsalvageable), "mediocre" (highly damaged but still in tact and mendable) and "Light" (light damage, broken windows, etc. No severe structural damage). The percentage for area 2 was somewhere in-between 80 and 90 percent sever damage to the households. I got off work around 4 and spent the next part of the day showering, eating, debriefing for an hour and doing various odd jobs around the building while flirting with other volunteers in order to keep my moral up."
Over the rest of the week I was asked to volunteer on the campus. There were days when we had over 3000 volunteers and simply lacked the resources and jobs to keep them all busy. There were days where I worked from 2am until 8am the next day. But its not the work I've done that I find impressive. What has been the most impressive thing for me so far has been the help that we have received from volunteers. I worked with a man and a woman on Wednesday that drove all the way from New Jersey to help. They had no place to stay, no food, no change of clothes- nothing but their truck, the clothes on their back and a desire to help people strong enough for them to leave their homes, family and jobs and drive for 3 days to aid the people down here. Thats the type of thing that really gets to me.
"Like everywhere else, there were people doing things in the field, on the campus, volunteers left and right, mixed with victims and people looking for answers. I just finished talking to a volunteer who can't find a place to sleep, so he is staying on the floor here. People like that amaze me. This experience has amazed me, in both good and bad ways."
The People in the city of Joplin are experiencing and living with a tragedy that is on a scale most of us cannot imagine. If I wasn't so tired from working down here I'd write more, and make my writing a bit sharper- but I don't feel like it. I hope you guys enjoy the music this week. Keep the people of Joplin in your thoughts and prayers. Here are some links below if you're interested in volunteering, donating or just supporting the people in general. Thanks for reading.
Information on Volunteering: CLICK HERE
Information on Donating: CLICK HERE
Share Stories and Support: CLICK HERE
Note about the Indie Sabbath:
In August The Indie Sabbath will be back in full gear, bringing you the latest in the great music from the indie music gift basket.
Upon this day, I declare that Indie music is leaps and bounds more pure than anything else, and the Term "Indie" means not that a band isn't mainstream, but that a band has been able to hold on to its roots, even through fame and fortune. While the wonderful thumps and womps of electronic music gets me grooving, It will always be the Alternative Indie Rock that guides me to the homeland. And for that- I both thank it and applaud it- for it has brought me great pleasure in the past and will so in the future.
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