Independently released album sells 124,000 units

Vampire Weekend’s “Contra” showed its teeth on the U.S. album chart last week, debuting at No. 1.

New York band’s independently released XL album scanned 124,000 units in its first week in stores, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ending Jan. 17.

Group’s sophomore release was the only new title to shift more than 100,000 copies and the lone CD to enter the top 10 in another sluggish January week marked by sales declines and weak numbers.

Still demonstrating some strength among CD buyers, Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream” (Syco/Columbia) held on at No. 2, tracking 77,000 copies (off 18%). The Scottish vocalist’s collection is likely to pick up steam again off Boyle’s appearance Tuesday on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” a traditional sales catalyst.

Last week’s chart-topper, party-loving Ke$ha’s “Animal” (Kemosabe/RCA), slid two slots to No. 3, down 56% with 67,000 shifted.

Major Grammy nominee Lady Gaga continued to show some muscle. Dipping one spot to No. 4, singer’s album “The Fame” (Interscope) declined a slim 3%, tracking 64,000, while mini-album “The Fame Monster” was the only gainer in the top 10, gaining 14% and bouncing up four posts to No. 6, with 36,000 moved.

Alicia Key’s “The Element of Freedom” (J Records) slipped one notch to No. 5; pop-R&B vocalist posted a 23% drop, with 48,000 sold. Remaining titles in the top 10 are Mary J. Blige’s “Stronger With Each Tear” (No. 7, 35,000 units, down 26%), Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” (No. 8, 33,000, down 12%), the “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” soundtrack (No. 9, 33,000, down 25%) and the Black Eyed Peas’ “The E.N.D.” (No. 10, 32,000, down 10%).

New albums by Spoon and Motion City Soundtrack and the “2010 Grammy Nominees” compilation are primed for significant chart entries next week. Also vying for a big entry is the “Crazy Heart” soundtrack.

New albums by Spoon and Motion City Soundtrack and the “2010 Grammy Nominees” compilation are primed for significant chart entries next week.

Also vying for a big entry is the “Crazy Heart” soundtrack, issued Tuesday; pic’s “The Weary Kind” captured a best song Golden Globe for writers Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett on Sunday.

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