Author Archives: Rich Tupica

TVD Video Premiere: FUNKILLER “Tropical Depression”

Way down in Florida, Gainesville-based singer-songwriter David Gordon spent 13 years quietly writing his second FUNKILLER album, Tropical Depression—a masterfully composed record that effortlessly swerves between dreamy-pop melodies and ethereal soundscapes. While it was finally released digitally last week via LaunchLeft, a pre-order for the vinyl is now live as well. This pressing will be on 180-gram black vinyl in a gatefold jacket.

The Vinyl District is proud to premiere the video for the title track, “Tropical Depression.” It’s a truly tranquil journey that’s accentuated by wistful dynamics and captivating poetry. The video was shot by Stephen Mckendree at various spots across Gainesville, Micanopy and St. Augustine. Locations all near and dear to Gordon.

“[The video for] ‘Tropical Depression’ is a slice of psychological life in Florida,” he said. “Woozy black-and-white layers of past and present imagery mirror the mystical cyclical nature of its creative forces.” Being a film photographer, and avid film lover, Gordon found a way to not only give a nod to one of his favorite films (note the poster for John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus), but also weave in old tape reels into the production.

“There’s found footage that was shot in Miami,” he added. “All of the footage of the aerial views, and old 16mm film, that was old found footage that my friend bought at an estate sale. I basically juxtaposed the two things. That was the rub: How do I marry these two things? I wanted to bridge the gap between the past and present.”

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Liberty Phoenix
and Collin Whitlock
get caped up

While all of her siblings leaned toward the movie and music industry, Liberty Phoenix decided to keep a relatively low profile far away from Hollywood in Gainesville, Florida. Starting in the 1980s, her older brothers River Phoenix and Joaquin Phoenix began starring in acclaimed big-budget films while her sisters Rain and Summer Phoenix also juggled films and music projects. All the while, Liberty went to college, became a parent, and started-up local businesses. However, over the last few years, she’s slowly stoked her passion for songwriting, even gigging across Florida with Americana groups like Pine and Johnny Lee.

Last month, amidst the pandemic, her new band, Capes, released its debut single “Looking Out For Me” via LaunchLeft, her sister Rain’s label and podcast. The moody, Steinway Grand-driven song and video is part of LaunchLeft’s new singles series honoring the 50th birthday of their late brother, River. In August, the series concludes with a new vinyl 12-inch single from River’s indie-rock band, Aleka’s Attic. River’s old friend, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, provides newly recorded basslines for the long-shelved tracks. 

Capes, which also comprises songwriter and pianist Collin Whitlock, recently chatted with The Vinyl District about their past, present, and musical future. Here’s what the duo had to say.

Liberty, your homelife consisted of being raised by your parents John and Heart Phoenix—both fearless supporters of the arts and progressive thinking. Do you feel that shaped you as a person and musicians?

LIBERTY: What’s funny is, I’m a very analytical thinker. I didn’t know I was a creative until about three or four years ago. It did not seem like it was a fabric of my nature. I went back to school to be an accountant. I have always run businesses. I am an entrepreneur. I am interested in the way business works.

So, while I was getting back into this, I ended up changing my degree to be a graphic designer at some point. This was after going through programming and coding classes and all that. Now all of the sudden, I’m a graphic designer, which is so far away from being an accountant that you can’t even imagine. I am definitely a late bloomer, but the building blocks were obviously instilled in there somewhere. I just hadn’t quite tapped into it until much later in life.

Was your family arts-leaning, as well?

COLLIN: For sure. We always had a piano in the house. My mom played piano, my dad played guitar to me, from birth on. One of my favorite memories is my dad playing “Rocky Raccoon” to me. Music was always a major part of our household. My parents were always vying for a spot in the CD player. Mom wanted “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” while my dad wanted The Beatles or The Byrds. We had certain music we’d listen to for certain things. If we were going on a trip, we’d put on Rolling Stones Let it Bleed. If we were going to soccer practice we’d listen to The Cars or Steely Dan. I got all of that growing up. 

Collin, were you born and raised in Gainesville?

COLLIN: No, I moved to Gainesville to go to school in 2001. I grew up in Indialantic, Florida. When I moved to Gainesville, that’s when I started playing in bands around town and got into the music scene here. My first band here was called Maxwell Edison. We were like a piano-rock band, it was a lot of fun. Since then, I’ve been lucky to be a part of many projects here that’ve made me grow as a musician and performer.

Liberty, over the last few years, you’ve performed in a couple bands, so how did Capes come to life?

LIBERTY: We started Johnny Lee a little over a year ago, it was our band previous to Capes. Johnny Lee has, basically, become Capes. This new single was written during Johnny Lee times, and other songs we have were also brought over to Capes. We have like 12 songs we play live that we worked out together. We’ve played a lot of shows [as Johnny Lee], but we’ve been in lockdown since Capes came out, so we’ve not done any performances as the new band.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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