Guitarist Marcus Machado’s rising stardom won’t be landing anytime soon. Named Rolling Stone’s 2016 “Next Young Gun,” as part of a series that highlights the most notable from the “next generation of six-string legends,” soon the Brooklyn-based virtuoso will no longer be referred to as one of the industry’s best-kept secrets. For his latest single “I Can’t Lose,” Machado teams up with vocalist Jermaine Holmes, widely known as a background singer in D’Angelo's band The Vanguard.
"I Can't Lose" is the first release from the soundtrack for director Patrick House’s upcoming film Blue Diamonds, a throwback to the Blaxploitation era. Though the song is chock full of '70s soul with several bluesy elements, the lyrics aren’t just a bunch of jive-talkin’. Holmes' tone is full of fury and fortitude as he sings, “So I’m frustrated, little angry / Feel like the sky is fallin’ on me / I drown my sorrows in the Henny / And I’m blowin’ off the steam with the weed / I know it won’t help me / But at least it puts the pain at ease / I can’t lose, I refuse.”
The accompanying visual, also directed by House, plays out like a short film and captures all the grit and groove of the track. We watch Machado, Holmes and fellow Vanguard vocalists Kendra Foster and Charles “Redd” Middleton perform in a dark, smoky club, while a shady storyline unfolds. In the beginning, we listen in on a voicemail message where a man is convincing his lover to partake in one last score, assuring her that their target will be at the club that night. When he arrives, however, things don’t quite go as planned. After meeting up, the passion between the two quickly turns violent. We aren’t completely sure of the reason for the fallout, and the video leaves us hanging, as the man attempts to carry out the jack move on his own. Perhaps the film will pick up where the video left off or maybe Machado has set us up for a string of cinematic visuals to accompany more new music. Regardless, between the soulful groove and the unfolding drama, we are intrigued by whatever he intends to serve.
Watch the video for Marcus Machado’s “I Can’t Lose” featuring Jermaine Holmes below and see why it was named the Best Music Video at LA’s Independent Shorts Awards. The full soundtrack for the film Blue Diamonds, which features a score fully composed by Machado, is due to be released later this year. In the meantime, add the track to your brown liquor playlist by purchasing it on iTunes or Google Play or stream it on Spotify.