"The Mountain Goats" is really just one guy, John Darnielle, who grew up in an abusive household. His songs are amazing and heartbreaking. I could go on and on but I'm just going to post some of my favorite lyrics that reference his abuse. Most of these can be found in some version on youtube.
From "Maybe Sprout Wings"
A bad dream shook me in my sleep
And I woke up sweating
Ran through the dark to the shower
Try to think good thoughts
Trying to find my way clear
Let the room fill with steam
Trace pictures on the mirror
Ghosts and clouds
And nameless things
Squint your eyes and hope real hard
Maybe sprout wings
From "This Year"
I broke free on a Saturday morning
I put the pedal to the floor
headed north on mills avenue
and listened to the engine roar
. . .
i drove home in the California dusk
i could feel the alcohol inside of me hum
pictured the look on my stepfather's face
ready for the bad things to come
. . .
i am going to make it through this year
if it kills me
i am going to make it though this year
if it kills me
from "Dance Music"
And I'm five years old or six maybe
And indications that there's something wrong with our new house trip down the wire twice daily
I'm in the living room watching the Watergate hearings while my stepfather yells at my mother
Launches a glass across the room, straight at her head, and I dash upstairs to take cover
Lean in close to my little record player on the floor
So this is what the volume knob's for
And My Favorite Song:
Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod
you are sleeping off your demons
when I come home.
spittle bubbling on your lips,
fine white foam
I am young and I am good.
it's a hot southern california day.
if I wake you up, there will be hell to pay.
and alone in my room,
I am the last of a lost civilization.
and I vanish into the dark
and rise above my station.
rise above my station.
but I do wake you up, and when I do
you blaze down the hall and you scream.
I'm in my room with the headphones on
deep in the dream chamber.
and then I'm awake and I'm guarding my face,
hoping you don't break my stereo.
because it's the one thing that I couldn't live without
and so I think about that and then I sorta black out.
held under these smothering waves
by your strong and thick veined hand,
but one of these days
I'm going to wriggle up on dry land.
I encourage you guys to look these songs up for yourself either on youtube or if you use other music services. Be warned though, if you think the lyrics are heavy his performance makes it twice as emotional.
"it's good to be young but let's not kid ourselves -- it's better to pass on through those years and come out the other side with our hearts still beating;
having stared down demons and come back breathing." -- John Darnielle