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Needtobreathe No. 1 On Rock Albums, Fitz And The Tantrums Top Alternative Songs

The Christian rock band lands its first Top Rock Albums leader, while Fitz and the Tantrums achieve a feat that only three other acts have in the past 25 years. Plus, chart action for Sevendust and…

Needtobreathe scores its second No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart, as “Rivers in the Wasteland” starts with 49,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set marks the South Carolina band’s best sales week and highest debut and rank on the Billboard 200 (No. 3), besting its previous album and first Top Rock Albums leader, 2011’s “The Reckoning” (No. 6, with a narrowly smaller sales sum).

The new album also yields the group’s second No. 1 on Christian Albums and first leader on Alternative Albums. “Rivers” is Needtobreathe’s fifth studio album dating to its 2006 debut.

SEVENDUST = 1: As Sevendust’s “Time Travelers & Bonfires” debuts at No. 4 on Top Rock Albums (15,000), tying the act’s best rank (with 2010’s “Cold Day Memory”), it becomes the group’s first No. 1 on Hard Rock Albums. It launches at No. 19 on the Billboard 200, becoming the band’s eighth top 20 set, a run that began with its second studio album, “Home,” in 1999.

The new release signals a noticeable softening of Sevendust’s sound, as it’s a mostly acoustic mix of new songs and re-recorded cuts.

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FITZ: On Alternative Songs, Fitz and the Tantrums earn an honor previously scored by only three acts in the chart’s 25-year history.

The band’s “The Walker” rises 2-1, marking its second No. 1, following last year’s first chart entry “Out of My League.” The group is just the fourth act to take its first two Alternative Songs hits to No. 1. Here is a recap of the select artists to reign in their first two visits to Alternative Songs:

Fitz and the Tantrums, “Out of My League,” “The Walker,” 2013-14
Fun., “We Are Young” (featuring Janelle Monae), “Some Nights,” 2012
Alanis Morissette, “You Oughta Know,” “Hand in My Pocket,” 1995
Green Day, “Longview,” “Basket Case,” 1994

TWO VOICES: Rock vets Aimee Mann and Ted Leo debut on Top Rock Albums at No. 15 with “The Both,” which doubles as the name of their new collaboration.

Both acts boast Billboard chart histories with their own projects, with Leo and his band the Pharmacists having topped Heatseekers Albums with “Living With the Living” in 2007. They reached No. 2 with their next entry, “The Brutalist Bricks,” in 2010, while the act has appeared on rankings going back to 2003.

Mann’s chart history began 29 years ago this month when ’til tuesday’s MTV fave “Voices Carry” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on its way to a No. 8 peak. The Mann-led band’s debut album of the same name reached No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and the group charted follow-ups “Welcome Home” in 1986 and “Everything’s Different Now” in 1988. She released her first solo album, “Whatever,” in 1993 and has charted seven solo sets. Her last two, 2008’s “@#%&*! Smilers” (No. 32) and 2012’s “Charmer” (No. 33), have brought her best solo Billboard 200 ranks.

“I thought it was really fun and satisfying,” Mann says of her team-up with Leo. “There’s something about working with another person that’s very inspiring. You have another person’s whole sensibility and realm of talents to utilize.”

Check out much more of Billboard’s interview with Mann and Leo on tomorrow (April 25) and in the new issue of Billboard magazine (dated May 3 and on-sale on Saturday, April 26).