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Death Cab For Cutie Parks at No. 1 on Top Rock Albums

With a handful of units between them, Death Cab for Cutie edges out Sufjan Stevens at the summit. Three Days Grace follows and tops Hard Rock Albums.

Death Cab For Cutie notches its third No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart (dated April 18) as Kintsugi starts with 51,000 units sold, according to Nielsen Music. (The title refers to the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery.)

The alternative rock band’s eighth studio album and fourth major-label release (Atlantic) also starts at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, marking its fourth top 10 effort (although its lowest entry for a studio album since Transatlanticism peaked at No. 97 in 2003). Its previous release, Codes and Keys, started and peaked at No. 3 in 2011 (102,000).


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The band has notched one leader on the Billboard 200: 2008’s Narrow Stairs. Its 2005 breakout album, Plans, (No. 4 on the Billboard 200) is its best-seller (1.2 million).

Kintsugi’s lead single, “Black Sun,” led Adult Alternative Songs for two weeks and reaches the top five (6-5) on Alternative Songs. The song marks the band’s highest rank on each list since it scored a leader on both with 2011’s “You Are a Tourist.”

Kintsugi is Death Cab for Cutie’s first album with an outside producer, Rick Costey (Muse, Jane’s Addiction) and marks the last album featuring founding member Chris Walla, who announced he’d left the band after the album was completed. Singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard, bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr will tour to support the album without Walla.Sufjan Stevens just misses catching Death Cab for Cutie atop Top Rock Albums as Carrie & Lowell debuts at No. 2 (and No. 10 on the Billboard 200), also with approximately 51,000 sold, although just below in non-rounded units. Although Stevens’ previous release, Age of Adz, charted better on Top Rock Albums, hitting No. 1, and the Billboard 200 (No. 7), the new release brings Stevens’ highest sales week (Adz sold 36,000 first-week units) dating to his 2000 debut.

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The new set — named after Stevens’ mother Carrie (who passed away in 2012) and stepfather Lowell (who co-founded the Asthmatic Kitty label with Stevens) — leads Vinyl Albums with 13,000 vinyl units. The title also debuts atop Independent Albums, Folk Albums and Tastemakers (the latter list ranking the top-selling albums from an influential panel of independent retailers and smaller regional chains).

At No. 3 on Top Rock Albums, Three Days Grace‘s Human starts with 35,000 sold. It’s the Canadian band’s second leader on the chart. Its fifth studio album is its first without former lead singer Adam Gontier and instead features vocalist Matt Walst.

The set’s lead single “I Am Machine” became the band’s 12th No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Songs, putting the band within one notch of Van Halen’s record for the most leaders (13). Follow-up “Human Race” lifts 27-19 in its second week on the airplay chart.