The second coming of Criteria: New album on 15 Passenger, Cursive tour, ping-pong…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:42 pm December 5, 2019

Criteria 2019. Photo by Django Greenblatt-Seay.

by Tim McMahan,

You already knew that Criteria was hitting the road with Cursive in January, and if you read this blog, you also already had a good idea that the band’s new album, Years, was coming out at some point on 15 Passenger. It’s been rumored for over a year. The fact that the recording is actually seeing the light of day is nothing short of a miracle.

Criteria announced the album and tour via Brooklyn Vegan yesterday before unleashing it on social media. Included in the BV story was both a track off the new album and an amusing/disturbing video of Criteria frontman Stephen Pedersen playing ping-pong with a diminutive Tim Kasher of Cursive. Hi-jinx indeed ensue.

Anyway, the new record is available for pre-order from It comes out Jan. 17. The new tune, “Agitate Resuscitate,” is a real scorcher, and the first question that came to mind upon listening to it was how in the heck Pedersen is going to be able to sing it — along with all the other high-flying Criteria songs from yesteryear — night after night for two weeks without turning his vocal chords to bloody ribbons.

As the website says, this is the first new album by Criteria in nearly 15 years. In that time, the band has pulled itself together at least once or twice a year for a one-off show, after which Pedersen could retire back to his professional life and conceivable talk in a hoarse whisper at work the following Monday morning. Instead, he’ll have to get right back behind that microphone the next night. I don’t know how he did it 15 years ago let alone how he’ll do it for two weeks in January (The sched: six days in a row, break, four days in a row, break, four days in a row). No doubt he’s been in training for the past few months. He’ll pull it off…

Folks who follow Little Brazil on Facebook already know that Austin Elsberry has taken over behind the drum kit, replacing Nate Van Fleet. That’s good timing considering Van Fleet will be holding down the drum chores for Criteria on the upcoming tour in place of drummer Mike Sweeney. Those are rather massive shoes to fill, Mr. Van Fleet, but I can’t think of anyone better to try.

You’ll be able to see both Little Brazil and Criteria when the bands play at The Waiting Room Dec. 28 with Lodgings. Talk about your down home holiday extravaganzas…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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