Indie rock reigns this week as Vampire Weekend debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, selling 134,000 copies of third album, Modern Vampires of the City, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan.
Vampire Weekend’s latest is their second No. 1, following 2010′s Contra. The album’s sales numbers are the band’s career best, slightly topping Contra‘s 124,000 in January 2010.
According to Billboard, the album is the 19th independently-distributed record to reach No. 1 on the chart since SoundScan data was first recorded in 1991, and the first such album in 2013. The album was released on XL Recordings and distributed by Warner Music’s Alternative Distribution Alliance. The last indie to top the charts was Jason Aldean’s Night Train last fall.
The band’s success follows an acclaimed appearance on Saturday Night Live, on which the four-piece performed “Unbelievers” and “Diane Young,” the album’s lead single, which has peaked so far at No. 17 on the Alternative Songs chart, the band’s best-ever chart showing. They’ve been on a promo tear as of late, particularly in the commercial radio world, where the band is slowly making in-roads (they played KROQ’s Weenie Roast last weekend, for one thing).
Country music nearly pulled off another No. 1 this week. George Strait debuts at No. 2 with Love is Everything, selling 120,000 of his 28th studio album in its first week. According to Billboard, the album is Strait’s 18th top-10 album, putting him in a tie with Paul McCartney for fourth-most among male artists. The album did peak at No. 1 on the Country Albums chart, extending Strait’s record of such albums to 25. Strait also scored his 60th No. 1 single on any chart across all genres — a major chart feat, though he was already holding the record for most singles — this past week, the week he turned 61.
Demi Lovato notches a No. 3 start with Demi, continuing her perfect score of debuting inside the top five on the Billboard 200. Though Demi didn’t tie her best of No. 1, attained by 2009′s Here We Go Again, she did score her best debut sales week, moving 110,000 copies of the new album, propelled along by top-10 single “Heart Attack” and her high-profile spot at the X Factor judges’ table.
The NOW 46 compilation slots in at No. 6, while former No. 1 albums The 20/20 Experience (Justin Timberlake) and To Be Loved (Michael Buble) chart at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. Country music closes out the top 10, with Pistol Annies‘ Annie Up hitting No. 9 and Blake Shelton’s Based on a True Story… notching No. 10. (There’s a “Miranda Lambert on top of Blake Shelton” joke in there somewhere.)
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com