"This Little Light," the third track on long-running rock act Two Cow Garage's forthcoming seventh album, Brand New Flag (Last Chance Records), describes a harrowing encounter in which an assailant sneaks up behind a victim at a gas station and holds a gun to his head, forcing him to his knees.

"This Little Light," the third track on long-running rock act Two Cow Garage's forthcoming seventh album, Brand New Flag (Last Chance Records), describes a harrowing encounter in which an assailant sneaks up behind a victim at a gas station and holds a gun to his head, forcing him to his knees.

"It's unfortunately autobiographical. I'm not a good enough writer to make stuff like that up," said singer/guitarist Micah Schnabel by phone recently. "I was walking to get cigarettes at about 3 a.m. in Houston, Texas. I shouldn't have strayed so far by myself, but I did. It was terrible, but I'm here."

Schnabel, who'll join Two Cow bassist/singer Shane Sweeney, new guitarist Todd Farrell and drummer David Murphy for a release show at Rumba Café on Friday, Aug. 19, mined similarly traumatic experiences on "A Lullaby of Sorts," which is just about the saddest, most desperate lullaby you're likely to hear.

"I spent two months in juvenile psychiatric, my grandma brought me sweatpants and candy bars," he sings in a raspy tenor. "My parents didn't visit much, I think they were embarrassed / I know I can't blame them for who they are."

"Music is something different for everybody, but for me it's very therapeutic," said Schnabel, who is prone to self-deprecating chuckles and humble admissions. "It helps me explain myself to myself and deal with the Catholic guilt of my everyday existence."

Brand New Flag, which will be available on CD at the release show and on other formats when the album is officially released in October, is also the most politically charged album Two Cow Garage has ever made. "They sent us off to schools and factories and wars / To teach us it's okay to die, as long as we're poor," Schnabel sings on the Springsteen-y "Let the Boys be Girls."

Sweeney touches on similar themes in "History Now!": "They say we have the right to peacefully protest / Unless you're poor or you're black, then you're under attack."

"Shane and I write these songs, and we don't talk to each other about lyrical content, but we always spend a lot of time together, so we kind of know what the other person is writing, whether conscious or unconscious," Schnabel said.

"I don't have children, but I have two nieces, and Shane has a son," he continued. "I was thinking that with Donald Trump and the situation we're in, I wanna be able to look them in the eye and tell them I said something, even if it's just on these little records we make. At least they'll know I didn't just sit there and say nothing. We screamed into many microphones and traveled around and did the best we could to fight the good fight. No matter what happens, I can look my niece in the eye and look Shane's son in the eye and say we tried. Everything we know how to do, we did."

September will mark 15 years as a band for Two Cow Garage. "It's been a really long grind," Schnabel said. "I imagine really successful bands would be like, 'It just flew by!' No, it's definitely been 15 years."

Two Cow Garage has toured with lots of big names over the years - rock legend Tommy Stinson (Replacements, Guns N' Roses) will share Friday's Rumba bill - but Schnabel has also seen bands that once opened for Two Cow go on to larger mainstream success, which can be frustrating for a band that plays fist-pumping-yet-folk-indebted rock anthems to audiences night after sweaty night. But Schnabel is philosophical when it comes to the number of fans who buy albums and come to shows.

"Success, for me, is just making it to the next show," Schnabel said. "Every time you show up to play a show, it's a success."