Criteria has a new album on the way.


The Omaha band is one of the best around. Criteria shows, though they happen intermittently these days, are some of the most intense, rocking, triumphant things you’ll ever see.

Its new album, “Years,” will be released Jan. 17 via 15 Passenger Records, the record label owned and operated by the members of Cursive.

In a funny video promoting the album, Cursive’s Tim Kasher and Criteria’s Steve Pedersen play pingpong, with the stakes being a new Criteria record and, ultimately, if Kasher’s label will release it.

It’s the first album Criteria will have released in 15 years, but excitement for the band is still high.

I had a Twitter exchange last month with fans from across the country who lamented never seeing Criteria in concert again. When I mentioned they play about once a year here in Omaha, they started looking at plane tickets.

And to tease the album, Criteria debuted “Agitate Resuscitate” on hip rock blog The new single is a monster of a song that begins with huge, catchy riffs before we’re reintroduced to Pedersen’s howling vocals.

The album also includes “This Reign Is Ours,” a song that dates back more than six years. (Criteria made a video for it with local video outfit Love Drunk, and also performs it regularly at its shows.)

Interestingly, Criteria has been talking about a new album for five years.

“I do not stray far from myself. The new record is not some bold step forward. It is a synthesis of both albums,” Pedersen told me a few years ago. “On this one, we tried to be a little even more over the top with the bombast and the anthemic nature of the songs. I wanted to be as big and rocking as possible.”

He added: “It’s turning up the volume nob on the same amplifier.”

Back then, Pedersen said they had about 10 songs, and they were just looking for someone to put it out. “Years” ended up with nine songs on the tracklist,

At the turn of the century, Criteria made two fantastic records.

This was after Pedersen left the band Cursive to do his own thing — namely, go to law school. When he returned to Omaha with a degree, he started up Criteria. Its first album, “En Garde,” was released in 2003. “When We Break” followed in 2005 on Saddle Creek Records. Everyone in the band quit their day jobs, and they toured pretty much nonstop for two years.

Pedersen, bassist A.J. Mogis, guitarist Aaron Druery and drummer Mike Sweeney eventually wound down and got back to their nonmusical lives, which included children, wives and jobs.

But Criteria never stopped writing new music or playing shows, even if its appearances only happen about once a year or so.

Things appear to be ramping up again for Criteria, including the new album and a short tour in 2020.

Criteria will hit the road for its longest tour in quite some time as an opening act for Cursive. Before all that, they’re slated to headline a concert on Dec. 28 at The Waiting Room Lounge with Little Brazil and Lodgings.