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Discs slip out of groove; Carey carries ‘Box’ to top

It was another week of retreat at record stores as consumer music purchases continue to move back toward non-holiday numbers.

According to SoundScan tally figures provided by an industry source, the 200 most popular titles moved 3,862,000 pieces last week, down from 4,813,000 the previous period.

Holding at No. 1 is Mariah Carey’s Columbia smash, “Music Box,” which sold more than 125,000 copies, off from last week’s 163,000. Rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Interscope debut “Doggystyle” is in the runner-up position, with sales of 103,000.

Jive hip-hop artist R. Kelly makes a move toward the top 10 as his debut “12 Play” leaps from No. 22 to No. 11. At No. 12 is femme rap group Salt-N-Pepa’s Next Plateau effort, “Very Necessary,” powered by the gold-certified “Shoop” single.

Among active releases showing large gains: Much-hyped Geffen rock band Counting Crows jumps from No. 70 to No. 32 with their debut “August and Everything After,” following an appearance on “Saturday Night Live”; the Epic-issued soundtrack from “Philadelphia” strode from No. 74 to No. 34.

Capitol jazz/hip-hop fusion band US3 climbs from No. 82 to 52 with its “Hand on the Torch” bow, and hard-edged East L.A. act Rage Against the Machine benefits from MTV buzz-bin play as its self-titled debut powers from No. 91 to 56.

The highest new entry comes from New Zealand mellow rock group Crowded House. The band’s fourth Capitol title, “Together Alone,” comes in at No. 73 with sales of nearly 14,000. Popular Canadian rockers Crash Test Dummies (Arista) bowed at No. 125 with “God Shuffled His Feet” (a title most Angelenos can relate to), while British modern folk-rockers James drop at No. 137 with the Mercury-released “Laid.”

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