The Birds & the B-Sides features 18 odds and ends from Shonen Knife's '90s catalog: single-only cuts, import-only songs or versions, four live performances from their first British gig, and contributions to tribute albums to the Carpenters, Beach Boys, and Nilsson. Shonen Knife have a devoted following for a cultish alternative act, and fanatics will appreciate the thoughtfully assembled, thoroughly annotated collection of these rarities, which would set you back a few hundred dollars or so if you tried to track them down via their original sources. If you're not devoted enough to become a fan club member, it's neither a place to start nor an essential addition; devoted fans, of course, will find otherwise. The covers (especially of "Heat Wave" and the Beach Boys' "Don't Hurt My Little Sister") generally outpace the original material.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger