The Astronauts (Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire)

AKA: RESTRICTED HOURS

The Astronauts (Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire)

Formed: Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, UK

Intriguing combo led by Mark Wilkins, formed in 1977 and still active. Shared stages and attitude with bands like The Mob, Zounds, Here & Now, Crass and Blyth Power, often playing at free festivals, attracting a small but loyal fanbase of punks, hippies, bikers, anarchist types and general weirdos. They also played with Duran Duran and Dire Straits, although I am not sure how much they had in common with either. Their music was a mystifying mix of punk, folk and weirdness, with literate political lyrics which avoided sloganeering.

The Astronauts EP and 'Pranksters In Revolt' EP are by far their most typically punky sounding releases, although even these are booby-trapped with occasional synthesisers and arty strangeness. In between those two releases was the Restricted Hours / The Syndicate split EP, which they recorded for the Rock Against Racism label during the short period when the band was renamed Restricted Hours.

Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs and It's All Done By Mirrors are extraordinarily idiosyncratic releases which capture the staggering width and breadth of their sound - everything from fast punk to gentle folk to synth-pop to ska to tangos sung in baritone. Obviously not a band for standard punk consumption, but essential and consistently surprising nonetheless.

The Astronauts - 'Pranksters In Revolt' EP Advert

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DISCOGRAPHY

Subsequent Official Albums: The Seedy Side Of ... (1987), In Defence Of Compassion (1989), Upfront And Sideways (tape, 1992), You're All Weird (1999), One Wave (2012, split with Destructors), It's Got A Garden (2019)

Singles & Albums / Extraneous Releases / Various Artists

The Astronauts - The Astronauts EPThe Astronauts EP (7", 1979)

The Astronauts - 'Pranksters In Revolt' EPRestricted Hours / The Syndicate (7", split, as Restricted Hours, 1979)

The Astronauts - 'Pranksters In Revolt' EP 'Pranksters In Revolt' EP (7", 1980)

The Astronauts - Peter Pan Hits The SuburbsPeter Pan Hits The Suburbs (LP, 1981)

The Astronauts - Only Fools & OptimistsOnly Fools & Optimists (Tape, 1982)

The Astronauts - It's All Done By MirrorsIt's All Done By Mirrors (LP, 1983)

The Astronauts - SoonSoon (LP, 1986)

Extraneous Releases

The Astronauts - Restricted HoursRestricted Hours (Tape, 1989)

The Astronauts - SurvivorsSurvivors (LP, 2011)

The Astronauts - Typically English DayTypically English Day (7", 2013)

The Astronauts - Urban Planning 1979-2013Urban Planning 1979-2013 (CDR, 2013)

Various Artists

Back To Sing For Free Again Soon UK Tape 1979 (Fuck Off): Secret File / All Night Party / Big Ben / Back To Sing For Free Again Soon [as The Astronoughts]

Essence Rare Vol. 1 UK Tape 1980 (Essence Rare Tapes): Fatigue / Protest Song

Slightly Weirdsville (aka Really Weird) UK Tape 1981 (Fuck Off): That's Where I'll Be / The Night (Baby Sings Folk Songs Part 3) / Midsummer Lullaby

Music For Pressure UK Tape 1981 (Fuck Off): Jet Set

Folk In Hell UK Tape 1981 (Fuck Off): Behave

Rock Against The Bomb 'Live' UK Tape 1982 (no label): Dance In The Yard / Everything Stops For Baby / Moderation Is Boring / We Were Talking / Survivors / Young Mans World

Nuclear Terra UK Tape 1983 (Anti Nuclear Benefit): New Dixie

Anarchy In The U.K. Volume One France CD 1990 (MPO): Survivors

Anti-War: Anarcho-Punk Compilation Vol. 1 UK CD 2005 (Overground): Typically English Day

Messthetics #102 US CD 2006 (Hyped To Death): All Night Party

Messthetics #5 UK '77-81 "D.I.Y" & DIY-Punk: "A" US CDR ???? (Hyped To Death): We Were Talking

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Links

Astronauts - Official Website

Listen and Understand - Follow link for excellent band bio and photos

Kill Your Pet Puppy

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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