STANDOUT TRACK: No. 1, “Rise Above,” a four-on-the-floor pop-rocker of Springsteenian insistence. Drums accent each quarter-note as songwriter/guitarist Luke Brindley sings with raspy urgency, “Hand on the wheel, foot on the pedal/Hear the dull whine of metal on metal/The wind it was howling, the rain it was blowing/Made it outta New Jersey with nobody knowing.”

MUSICAL MOTIVATION: Thirty-something Vienna resident Luke and bass-playing brother Daniel Brindley, both Garden State natives, have expended much I-95 time when not at their home base, Jammin’ Java. “A lot of New Jersey images seem to pop up when I’m writing,” Luke says. On recent turnpike trips to visit a friend in rehab, Luke reports lots of ideas a-poppin’, but “[I] wasn’t quite sure how to use them,” he says. “Eventually, with the chorus [‘And I want to be the one to take that stand/But I’m always running with blood on my hands’], it became about overcoming and facing fears and shortcomings head on and not running anymore—taking action.”

SENSES WORKING UNDERTIME: When talking about his craft, Luke likes to reference song machine Neil Young: “As soon as he starts thinking too much, he stops writing.” Thus Luke finds the perfect tool in his car, which puts him into a “suspended animation sort of feeling” that is “kind of meditative.” He keeps a notebook and tape recorder with him while driving for when inspiration—or a Mack truck—strikes. “[W]hen music gets involved, it can be dangerous,” he says. “The only two car accidents I’ve ever had were when I was really into the music I was listening to.”—Dave Nuttycombe

More from WCP