Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey falls flat in 5-0 loss to Northeastern -

January 20, 2018

UMass women’s track and field takes first, men fourth at Joe Donahue Games -

January 20, 2018

Sanzo: UMass’ game vs. St. Louis is a sign of what it is without its grit -

January 20, 2018

UMass men’s basketball gets blown out by Saint Louis, 66-47 -

January 20, 2018

UMass hockey shuts down No. 8 Northeastern with 3-0 win -

January 19, 2018

Matt Murray hands Northeastern its first shutout of the season -

January 19, 2018

Minutewomen stunned by last-second free throw -

January 19, 2018

UMass hockey returns home to battle juggernaut Northeastern squad -

January 18, 2018

Slow start sinks Minutemen against URI -

January 17, 2018

UMass three-game win streak snapped in Rhode Island humbling -

January 17, 2018

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey -

January 16, 2018

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

ACDC’s Box of old tricks

As if “Black Ice” wasn’t enough, the musical juggernaut that is AC/DC has decided yet again to bless the collective musical universe with a new product. “Backtrack,” a new three-disk box set, contains some fun and delightfully odd and obscure tracks, as well as more live songs and video footage than you can shake a guitar at. Unfortunately, not even the box made to resemble a Marshall stack makes this worth the purchase for anyone but the most dedicated of AC/DC fans. 

“Studio Rarities” is the first disk in the series, and contains the kinds of gems one would have previously had to scour the Internet for – all remastered. A large portion of these tracks are standard AC/DC fare: catchy riff; simplistic, crunchy guitar solo; the works. However, a few caught my attention, most notably, “Love Song” and “Crabsody in Blue.” “Love Song” is the closest I have ever heard AC/DC come to a ballad, singing and playing softy and slowly. “Crabsody in Blue” is another interesting slow number, though the subject matter – catching crabs – indicates that this is anything but a ballad. In addition, there are several other tunes that will catch your attention – specifically if you are growing weary of the same formulaic AC/DC and wish to hear something fresh. Not to mention, the tracks feature both former singer Bon Scott and the current Brian Johnson, so fans of both camps will get a kick out of the first disk.

The second disk is titled “Live Rarities.” “Rarities” is a bit of a stretch, as only about half of these songs can be dubbed as such. Rare performances, perhaps, but “T.N.T.” and “Rock ‘n’ roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” hardly qualify as obscure. However, everything here has been digitally enhanced to make the sound as crisp as ever. New it is not, but definitely aesthetically pleasing to the ear. 

The third disk is a DVD containing over a dozen videos spanning AC/DC’s lengthy career. The first nine numbers are exclusively from the ‘90s and on, with tracks lifted from “Ballbreaker,” “Stiff Upper Lip” and the most recent “Black Ice.” Though arguably not the finest AC/DC has ever produced, a collector will get a kick out of these. 

The second part of the DVD features songs everyone and their grandmother has previously heard. “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” “Highway To Hell” and yes, “You Shook Me All Night Long,” are featured here. Live renditions of “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “Highway to Hell” seem to have been thrown in at the end for good measure, as well as two making of clips for “Hard as a Rock” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train.” Not necessary, but a nice touch for the collector. 

Overall, “Backtracks” is a decent package. There are several numbers on the first disk that alone warrant the purchase of this package … if you are a rabid fan. The addition of a concerts worth of remastered live tracks as well as videos from their not-so-glorious days was nice, but ultimately only die-hard followers will see reason in purchasing yet another AC/DC box set.

Dmitriy Gabriel can be reached at dmitriy@student.umass.edu.

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