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Omaha NE, United States (2003 – present)

Criteria is an indie rock band from Omaha, Nebraska, formed in 2003 when ex-Cursive founding member Steve Pedersen returned to his hometown after graduating from the Duke University School of Law. He spent six months in a friend’s basement where he wrote all ten songs for his new project’s debut album. He recruited the help of some old friends, A.J. Mogis (of Presto! Recording Studios and Lullaby for the Working Class) on bass guitar, Aaron Druery on guitar, and Mike Sweeney of Beep Beep on drums. Their first album, En Garde, was released on his previous band’s label, Initial Records.

Steve Pedersen eventually got a day job as a lawyer, making it hard for the band to go on tour to promote their new album. Initial Records went bankrupt about a year after, leaving Criteria without a label. Saddle Creek Records took their longtime friend in and put out three releases in 2005. The first was a re-release of the overlooked and underrated En Garde, their new single, “Prevent the World,” and their second full-length, When We Break. After being moved into Saddle Creek, Pedersen quit his day job to spend full time making music and touring.

Criteria has performed with bands such as Cursive, The Fall of Troy, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Statistics, Poison the Well, Rahim, and Minus the Bear.

Despite having no shows scheduled, and no official status on any upcoming album, single or tour, Saddle Creek Records has consistently stated that Pedersen and company have not disbanded.


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  • bellandhammer Stephen Pedersen's first band, The White Octave is having their debut album issued on vinyl for the first time ever, nearly 15 years later.

    2 Aug 12:48am Reply
  • mattymuchacho

    Saw this band ages ago, bought their album, rediscovering it... very pleased to this day.

    1 Apr 2013 Reply
  • Audiobinge

    Forgot how much I love this band. Absolutely stunning.

    15 Jan 2012 Reply
  • DannabisAx

    They were awesome live, I saw them at the Electric Factory I believe, with Fall of Troy, and Minus the Bear I think, but my memory gets blurry this far along.

    4 Nov 2010 Reply
  • DannabisAx

    Man, I love Pedersens voice. Check out the white octave if you need more awesome music. When will we see new music Stephen?

    4 Nov 2010 Reply
  • BlinkSUM

    о0 . . .

    4 Aug 2010 Reply
  • milkandapples

    Thanks for posting the article. Good for him on the life balance, sad for us that it doesn't include more Criteria!

    29 Jun 2010 Reply
  • Audiobinge

    Shoot. Read an article the other day about them. New record doesn't seem likely. Steve has found his perfect balance with work and his band and family. They'll do an occasional show but probably never a nationwide tour. Found the article just now. Enjoy:

    26 May 2010 Reply
  • dfreelon

    Join a band, leave it, start up a new one that sounds just like it...

    6 May 2010 Reply
  • dszukoski

    rescue rescue best song... too bad the rest cant capture that same emotion.... bring back white octave!

    31 Mar 2010 Reply
  • mthomasmorgan

    I threw En Garde on my Ipod recently, listened to it about 10 times this week.

    13 Feb 2010 Reply
  • dream_logic

    wow im so happy/lucky to have there promo album, hope they return soon.

    4 Feb 2010 Reply
  • NYdubber

    caught them with PTW in Boise about 3 years ago - glad I got to see 'em when I did....who knows what they are doing now and in the future.

    29 Oct 2009 Reply
  • ws1fish

    i will die in the fight for us, defending the song that gave us life

    7 Jul 2009 Reply
  • borntohang

    Rescue, rescue! Come on!

    17 Feb 2009 Reply
  • borisMiles

    one solution : buy their albums. available on iTunes.

    9 Jan 2009 Reply
  • FoeScenarios

    i couldnt find a website for these guys. apparently my friend downloaded some songs from criteria's website... can anyone post a site i can do this at?

    14 Dec 2008 Reply
  • danielisstained

    not, it really isn't. their only good songs are me on your front porch and the coincidence.

    24 Oct 2008 Reply
  • bexestabueno

    one of the best bands to come out of nebraska.

    12 Sep 2008 Reply
  • reposmerite

    according to matt from cursive, criteria isn't really a band anymore, short of playing some shows around omaha.

    3 Aug 2008 Reply
  • All 35 shouts

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