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Back to the Future: 10 Searchlight songs inspired by the past

Ian Steaman

Searchlight is all about discovering the best new talent across Canada. Often that talent stands out beacuse they bring something completely new to the table, but sometimes artists look to music's past for inspiration to create and build their own sound.

Below, discover 10 acts who have done just that. From the dawn of the rock 'n' roll era in the 1950s and all its subsequent permutations over the decades, to the singer-songwriter folk music of the 1970s and the beat-driven pop sheen of American R&B.

Searchlight aims to cover the entire spectrum of popular music, and the submissions by these artists take us on a journey through some of the history contained across that spectrum. Round 2 of voting opens March 7.

Who: the black frame spectacle
Song: "this train ain't stoppin'"

About: This Dorchester/St Thomas, Ont., duo has taken classic '50s-era rockabilly and given it a punky new sheen.

Who: The Static Shift
Song: "Common Bliss"

About: This trio of Calgary-based teens taps into the now classic rock sound of the late '60s/early '70s, when hard rock began to morph into heavy metal.

Who: Claire Coupland
Song: "Fallen"

About: This Victoria, British Columbia-based artist taps into the same vein of personal introspection that gave rise to pioneering singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Carole King in the 1970s.

Who: Brutus Begins
Song: "Flesh and Bone"

About: The sound of Toronto's Brutus Begins evokes the era of the early 1980s when new wave began to morph into the dawn of what came to be known as alternative rock.

Who: Howzat
Song: "Luv Dust"

About: London, Ont., quartet Howzat makes us remember what we all loved about early '80s stadium hard rockers like Def Leppard and AC/DC.

Who: Mind's Eye
Song: "I'm Goin' Under"

About: Oshawa, Ont., singer-songwriter Jackson Begley (a.k.a. Mind's Eye) takes us back to the mid- and late '80s heyday when hair metal stars became bona fide pop idols.

Who: Savage Playground
Song: "Could've Been Me"

About: Sherwood Park, Alta., rockers offer a sly tip of the hat to that early '90s era when heavy metal and hip-hop vied for chart supremacy in this fun video.

Who: Last Bullet
Song: "Sin"

About: Toronto rockers Last Bullet reminds us of when grunge rock merged with straight-ahead metal in the mid-'90s in the ongoing evolution of the sound of rock 'n' roll.

Who: Within Shadows
Song: "Get Up"

About: Harrow, Ontario's Within Shadows takes us back to the mid- and late '90s when Nu Metal became the predominant sub-genre in rock music.

Who: Jenna
Song: "Drunk and Dreamin'"

About: Don't be fooled by the historical period video — musically Jenna pays homage to a different turn of the century with her mid-aughts R&B sound.

More to explore:

Searchlight Playlist: 10 young musicians you need to hear

Searchlight 2017: 8 family bands to hear

Searchlight 2017: 1-person bands you should hear

Searchlight Playlist: 8 underground music acts you should hear

Searchlight 2017: 5 non-English acts you should hear

If you like Lana Del Rey, Led Zeppelin or John Legend, you'll love these Searchlight artists