Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

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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