The Astronauts (Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire)


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


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

The Astronauts - The Astronauts EP The Astronauts - 'Pranksters In Revolt' EP The Astronauts - 'Pranksters In Revolt' EP The Astronauts - Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs
The Astronauts - Only Fools & Optimists
The Astronauts EP
(7", 1979)
Restricted Hours / The Syndicate
(7", split, as Restricted Hours, 1979)
'Pranksters In Revolt' EP
(7", 1980)
Peter Pan Hits The Suburbs
(LP, 1981)
Only Fools & Optimists
(Tape, 1982)
The Astronauts - It's All Done By Mirrors The Astronauts - Soon      
It's All Done By Mirrors
(LP, 1983)
(LP, 1986)

Extraneous Releases

The Astronauts - Restricted Hours
The Astronauts - Survivors The Astronauts - Typically English Day The Astronauts - Urban Planning 1979-2013  

Restricted Hours
(Tape, 1989)


(LP, 2011)


Typically English Day
(7", 2013)
Urban 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


ASTRONAUTS - Official Website

LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND - Follow link for excellent band bio and photos



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