7. "Afraid" / CERAMIC HOLIDAY (Arellano/Robinson)
This five-piece from Los Angeles just survived a scary year. Lead vocalist (and co-writer) Jen Robinson was treating a painfully sore throat throughout most of 2002, until a doctor discovered a serious thyroid problem -- one that could have ended her career. Eight months after the diagnosis, Jen's back with her band and cranking out great, new-wave influenced tracks like this one.