Return with us now to the simpler, sweeter days when rock-'n'-rollers churned out jingle-janglin' Christmas songs that weren't sourball suckers dripping in irony. The


have always had a nostalgic bent for the winsome innocence and pure, chipper musical tones of the classic rock era. (Even their album covers offer visual cues to Fab Four long-players of the early- to mid-'60s.)

On their new "Christmas With the Smithereens" album, which the Jersey boys will also feature here in live performances, they're harkening again to that mind-set (and the herald angels) with good-natured holiday fare done originally by the Beatles, the Who, Brian Wilson, the Ramones and Chuck Berry, whilst also adding a few like-minded originals to the oeuvre.

Get a free taste at a live, noontime concert today on WXPN (88.5 FM) from World Cafe Live. Or enjoy an extended dose at their gig there this evening.

World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7:30 tonight, $25-$40, 215-222-1400,

- Jonathan Takiff