For only the second time in history, all of the top six albums on the Billboard 200 are debuts. Led by Dave Matthews Band's Away From the World at No. 1, the top six are new arrivals for the first time since the Oct. 11, 2003, chart.
That week, OutKast snared its first No. 1 with Speakerboxx/The Love Below. The duo's smash album was followed by new entries at Nos. 2-6 by, respectively, Dave Matthews' Some Devil, Limp Bizkit's Results May Vary, R. Kelly's The R. in R&B Collection, Obie Trice's Cheers and Nickelback's The Long Road.
On this week's chart: Dave Matthews Band's Away From the World is trailed by the arrivals of Little Big Town's Tornado, Bob Dylan's Tempest, the Avett Brothers' The Carpenter, the xx's Coexist and ZZ Top's La Futura.
Away From the World shifted 266,000 in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, easily securing the top slot. They are the only group to have six consecutive studio albums debut at No. 1. The act's last album, 2009's Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, started with a more robust sales sum: 424,000. In fact, the opening figure for Away From the World is Dave Matthews Band's smallest launch for a studio release since 1996's Crash bowed at No. 2 with 254,000.
Little Big Town's No. 2 start for Tornado gives the country quartet its highest-charting album ever -- and its best sales week (113,000). Hot off the success of its first No. 1 Country Songs hit, "Pontoon," the act also nets its second No. 1 on the Country Albums chart with Tornado.
Dylan nets his fifth consecutive top 10 studio album as Tempest starts at No. 3 with 110,000. It follows 1997's Time Out of Mind (No. 10), 2001's Love and Theft (No. 5), 2006's Modern Times (No. 1) and 2009's Together Through Life (No. 1). The latter debuted with 125,000.
The Avett Brothers grab their best week yet on the Billboard 200 as The Carpenter climbs in with 98,000 at No. 4. Until this week, the act hadn't reached the top 10 with five previous entries. Its high-water mark was 2009's I and Love and You, which debuted and peaked with its then-biggest sales week: 40,000.
Rock act the xx also bulldozes past its previous biggest week thanks to the 73,000 racked by its sophomore album, Coexist, and its No. 5 entry. The band's self-titled debut reached No. 92 in 2010 and spent 41 weeks on the tally.
Rounding out the top six debuts is the legendary ZZ Top with its highest-debuting album ever, La Futura (No. 6; 31,000). The set -- the band's first studio release since 2003's Mescalero -- gives the trio its best rank since 1990's Recycler reached No. 6. It's also ZZ Top's first visit to the top 10 since 1992, when Greatest Hits went to No. 9. The band's debut of 31,000 copies is its largest sales week since early 1994, when Antenna moved 38,000 in its fifth week on the chart.
The new album is ZZ Top's first for American Recordings after four studio efforts for RCA between 1994 and 2003.
Three holdovers populate the top 10 this week: Imagine Dragons' Night Visions falls 2-7 (29,000; down 65%), Matchbox Twenty's North tumbles 1-8 (28,000; down 71%), and the Now 43 compilation dips 4-9 (24,000; down 31%).
Rounding out the top 10 is the seventh and final new arrival to the region: Amanda Palmer's Theatre Is Evil, debuting at No. 10 with 24,000. Of the set's first week, 93% of its sales came from digital downloads or via Internet retailers. That huge share isn't surprising: Much of those sales are owed to a Kickstarter campaign mounted by Palmer to fund the making of the album. Many of those who pledged a certain amount of money to the project also received either a download or physical copy of the album.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Taylor Swift again leads the tally, with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" selling 226,000 downloads. But rising fast up the list is "Clique" by Kanye West (featuring Jay-Z and Big Sean). The tune vaults 16-2 with 209,000 (up 182%). The cut is the latest single release from the Good Music: Cruel Summer compilation, which should debut near the top of the Billboard 200 next week.
Steady at No. 3 is Maroon 5's "One More Night" (192,000; down 2%) while Psy's "Gangnam Style" flies 25-4 with 188,000 (up 210%). The song profits from Psy's appearances during the tracking week on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," NBC's "Today" and "Saturday Night Live."
Fun.'s "Some Nights" falls a slot to No. 5 (153,000; down 4%), Alex Clare's "Too Close" holds at No. 6 (131,000; up 3%), and P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" slips 7-8, but with a gain in sales (117,000; up 3%).
Swift's charity single "Ronan" slides 2-7 (116,000; down 45%), Justin Bieber's "As Long As You Love Me" (featuring Big Sean) is down two to No. 9 (112,000; down 2%), and Flo Rida's "Whistle" descends five spots to No. 10 (110,000; down 27%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 16) totaled 5.1 million units, up 7% compared with the sum last week (4.8 million) and down 8% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (5.6 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 207.3 million, down 5% compared with the same total at this point last year (217.6 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 22.9 million downloads, down 2% compared with last week (23.3 million) and up 9% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (21 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 962.4 million, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (910.6 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Tony Bennett earned his first No. 1 album with Duets II, as it bowed atop the list with 179,000. The previous week's leader, Lady Antebellum's Own the Night, fell to No. 2 with 125,000 (down 64%).