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A pack of Orphans you don't want to mess with

Wednesday, Jan 15 2003
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"I write songs about boys in bands that piss me off and break my heart," says Jenny Stiletto, singer for the Orphans. Heartbreak is a great subject for punk songs, as the Muffs and Buzzcocks have amply demonstrated, but Stiletto and the Orphans put their own angry spin on this typical topic. On "Chinatown," the A-side of the band's soon-to-be-released second single, Stiletto sings about chopping off the arms, legs, and head of a dude who did her wrong, in a tune that sounds like a psychotic take on Blondie's "One Way or Another." Onstage, the diminutive Stiletto is part wholesome cheerleader and part devilish instigator, making eye (and body) contact with the audience as she coos, "Burn, baby, burn/ Into the ground/ Into the ground."

Formed from the remnants of the Long Beach punk outfit Blue Balls a little over a year ago, the Orphans have won a loyal L.A. following on the strength of solid song structures, over-the-top live energy, and punk tomfoolery (bassist Wade occasionally breaks beer bottles over his head). The band's audience is so loyal, in fact, that a fan formed a label, Malo Records, for the sole purpose of putting out the Orphans' first release, a three-song 7-inch.

More recently, the group signed with L.A.'s Kapow Records and finished some new material, including the Iggy Pop-style stomper "Falling Down" and the lurid "Moscow Message." In reference to the latter tune, Stiletto says, "It's a super-special song about when I almost accidentally sold myself into a Russian prostitution ring. True story."

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Bob Cantu

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