Grizzly Bear roars onto the pop chart, as Eminem holds at No. 1
Despite leaking to the Web in March, the latest from much-hyped Brooklyn indie-rock quartet Grizzly Bear has made a top 10 debut on the U.S. pop charts. The band's first-week sales of 33,000 copies are in a distant universe from the numbers tallied by the likes of Eminem and Green Day, but in today's depressed sales climate, that's more than enough for the chamber-pop of "Veckatimest" to land at No. 8.
Since hitting the file-sharing networks, Warp Records' "Veckatimest" has been hyped as one of the year's stronger indie rock efforts, receiving rave reviews from this publication, the Chicago Tribune, popular Web-zine Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, among many others. The band members pleaded with fans to buy the album, despite admitting on their blog that they had "conflicting opinions" about file-sharing.
"Veckatimest" gives Grizzly Bear its best sales week by far. The group's sophomore effort, "Yellow House," was released in 2006 and has sold 55,000 copies to date. Of the 33,000 copies sold of "Veckatimest," a relatively high number came in the form of digital download purchases -- a reflection of the band's Web-savvy fan base or perhaps Amazon.com's loss-leading first-week price of $3.99. A total of 13,000 digital albums were purchased.
A strong number of "Veckatimest's" first-week sales came from the independent sector. Billboard's chart analyst Ketih Caulfield writes that 24% were made at independent and small chain outlets. Not unexpectedly, Grizzly Bear also performed well in the ever-burgeoning vinyl market, selling 4,000 LPs in the first week.
At the top of the chart, it's all Eminem, Green Day and Miley Cyrus. It won't be known until next week whether Eminem will receive a sales-boost from his MTV Movie Awards appearances. For now, he's withstood a major second-week drop-off to hold at No. 1
The rapper's Aftermath/Interscope set "Relapse" sold an additional 211,000 copies this week, despite a 65% sales dip, giving it a two-week total of 820,000 copies sold. That's enough to make it one of the year's top sellers, and it's closing in on U2's "No Line on the Horizon" (Interscope), which has sold 910,000 copies as of this week.
Meanwhile, at No. 3, the Disney soundtrack to "Hannah Montana: The Movie" has reached a sales milestone, of sorts. The set tops the million-sold mark in its 10th week of release, having shifted an additional 52,000 copies this week.
Green Day's Reprise album "21st Century Breakdown," in its second full week of release and its third week on the chart, sold an additional 76,000 copies to hold on at No. 2. To date, the album has sold 457,000 copies.
Other notable newcomers include Marilyn Manson, who enters at No. 3 with his Interscope set "The High End of Low," which sold 49,000 copies. Further down, Mandy Moore gets serious with her "Amanda Leigh" (Storefront), and the album lands at No. 25 after selling 16,000 copies.
With more than 10 million people watching his special, "George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade All Star Concert," it's no surprise that the artist shot back into the top 40 with his "Troubadour." The MCA Nashville album rose from No. 164 to No. 34, selling 13,000 copies this week.
Overall, Billboard reports that sales are down 20% from the same week in 2008.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Grizzly Bear. Credit: Lane Coder