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The short story:

 

FREE ROCK is a psychedelic rock band based in Boston, Massachusetts. The band's current members are:

Jacob Keplinger (guitar), James Siegel (bass), Jackson Keplinger (keys), and Elliott Eastman (drums).

The long story:

 

FREE ROCK was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in the fall of 2019 following founding members Jacob Keplinger and Justin Siegel's departure from their previous band NEW THREADS. Joined by James Siegel (Justin's cousin) on bass guitar, the trio gained their chops through relentless practice sessions in Justin's basement in Winchester, MA. It was here that they released their first music in the form of an eight-episode web series titled BOOTLEG SERIES, featuring the trio performing various cuts from the NEW THREADS discography. The primary difference between the original tracks and the new Bootleg editions was the notable inclusion of live jams; with each episode of the series, the trio found themselves exploring and improvising more, and this sound bled straight into their first two studio releases, the first of which was simply titled FREE ROCK. The album was released on February 21, 2020, just two weeks before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trio's live plans were instantly crushed; a second season of BOOTLEG SERIES was cut short as well (only "Head in the Sand" saw the light of day before the group was forced to quarantine). Isolated to their homes across the state of Massachusetts, the trio found themselves at a crossroads. In this time, Jacob pulled out the band's first recordings together and mixed them down into the album now known as BUFORD, which was released on April 10, 2020.  Aching for more, the group began to plot their third studio album, planning to track it remotely under the circumstances. The album (initially under the working title JETSKI) would open with the last track the band wrote together in person, "Schlitz." They recorded the song remotely and released it as a single on May 25, 2020. However, as Massachusetts' COVID caseload lightened in the summer of 2020, the band decided it was safe to get together in-person and track additional new tunes. Over the next two months the group would record the entirety of their third album GONE WILD, which did not feature "Schlitz" upon its release on October 2, 2020 but would later see inclusion in remastered editions of the album. The band took a short hiatus following the release, hoping to wait out the final few months before vaccines became available and the world would begin to open up again. In that downtime, Jacob wrote and prepared the nine tracks that would make up the band's fourth release, NEW THREADS IS DEAD. Until this point, the band had yet to drop the New Threads moniker. But the grim realities of the pandemic offered a new perspective on the project, and the band reorganized as The Free Rock Trio (named of course, after the album on which they first recorded together.) Released on July 16, 2021 with hopes of separating the group's new identity from their tight origins with NEW THREADS, it also managed to follow through with the goal intended for GONE WILD by being recorded remotely from the band members' individual homes. Following the release of this album, the band began appearing live again, and entered into a new era of productivity. That fall, they started work on their next studio album, one they wanted to follow in the footsteps of the trio's debut and focus on jammier, more explorative songs. But unlike the dark, moody tones of FREE ROCK, this new record would be joyous and optimistic, with most of the tracks being written in major keys (the single "Recliner" being the clear exclusion). However, on the final day of tracking the new album, the group recorded a 31-minute free jam that spawned an album of its own, titled MILK and being released to the public via unmarked CDs at the band's shows throughout March 2022, eventually earning an official release on April 1, 2022. Shortly afterwards, the trio announced that their sixth studio album would be titled NORTHERN TERRACE and releasing on July 1, 2022, following each track's release as a single. This proved successful for the band, who gained a fresh new audience from the album's light and airy sound, pulling from jam-band and fusion influences. It was around this time that the trio brought in Jacob's brother Jackson Keplinger to play the keys, and he made his studio debut with the group on their seventh album FREE ROCK NATIONAL PARK, which released on October 28, 2022. This album took the catchy and poppier writing style heard on NORTHERN TERRACE and streamlined it into tighter, shorter tracks which were notably lacking the extended jams the now-quartet had become known for. They extensively promoted these two albums in tandem with live performances and music video releases. But all the while, they were busy plotting their next releases behind the scenes. Inspired dually by the peaks of '70s disco and the disappointment of a recent Foo Fighters release, Free Rock aimed their sights at a full-length disco record of their own. And in November 2022, the band released the first single, "Speed of Might." The track was followed by the double single "Perseverance" and "Eyelid" in January 2023, the former of which ended up appearing on their eighth album DIRTY DISCO, which released on March 3, 2023. Six days later, on March 9, 2023, the band released their ninth studio album BUFORD'S REVENGE with no announcements or singles to precede it. Stylistically, the album's prog-rock intentions played in stark contrast to the dance fever of DISCO, even though the two records were tracked in the same room (the bulk of REVENGE was actually tracked on the same day as "Whole Hot Summer," the third song on DISCO). But listeners barely had any time to digest REVENGE, as the band continued their streak with yet another album drop the following day. Friday, March 10th saw the release of REAL LIFE, the tenth studio effort by Free Rock and their most collaborative to date. The album opened with the single "Eyelid" and was the first in the band's discography to feature lead vocal performances from both Justin ("That's the Way She Goes") and James ("Out of My Mind"). However, as the band's ambitions began to grow and creative visions began to clash, Jacob and Justin's relationship began to strain in the months following the triple release. This ultimately resulted in Justin's departure from the group in June of 2023. But how do you leave a group with whom you've made ten albums in just three years? Of course, the answer was to make one final record with this lineup; recorded moments after Justin announced his departure, the quadruple-jam is titled FREE ROCK II, and dropped on August 18, 2023. Following the release, Elliott Eastman was announced as the new drummer and the group has at least two new studio albums in the works for 2024. The first single with the new lineup, "Walkin' Song," was released on October 6, 2023 alongside a music video which sees the band return not only to the jam-band soundscapes heard on TERRACE but also to the filmed in-studio performances first seen with BOOTLEG SERIES. With this, the band entered a new era featuring a heavier emphasis on live performances. This new era also paved way for the group to begin printing and recording their own cassette tapes in-house, again under the PINK HAT name. The tapes primarily feature live concert recordings (serialized via the volumed series BOOTLEG LIVE) as well as exclusive compilations and free jams that are otherwise unreleased. In early 2024, the group announced details of their forthcoming twelfth studio album, titled FREE ROCK EXPRESS and due out March 22, 2024. The album will feature nine songs including the singles "Walkin' Song," "Occupy," and "Emerald Station," the last of which was released alongside a music video shot at the historic Hoosac Tunnel in Florida, Massachusetts directed by longtime collaborator Nick Burchard and shot by Kevin Mezick. FREE ROCK EXPRESS is the natural continuation of the sound developed on NORTHERN TERRACE and FREE ROCK NATIONAL PARK; boasting a mix of lengthier, jam-heavy tracks and shorter, more considered ones, this record a true love child between the two. And per usual, the band is always up to something... album #13 is well underway.

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