Tigermilk is Belle and Sebastian's first album, which was originally released in 1996 with an all-vinyl run of only 1000 on 'Electric Honey Records' - the label on which students taking part in the Stow College Music Business Course release a record every year, usually a single. Belle and Sebastian had enough material for a whole album, so they sat down and recorded ten songs in three days, and put it out as Tigermilk.

With no promotion and an amateurish feel, the record sold slowly at first - later, though, after the release of If You're Feeling Sinister, the few who got their hands on an original copy realised how lucky they were as copies started changing hands for up to £400.

Low-grade bootlegs changed hand, being copied and re-copied among fans; people asking very nicely on the Sinister mailing list received tapes from those with a desire to share the wealth. Eventually, Jeepster (to whom the band signed immediately after Tigermilk was first released) agreed to put out a new edition of the album with different cover art, and in 1999 - after The Boy with the Arab Strap but before Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant - the re-release came out. It was technically their first album, their third album to get a proper release, and their fourth album release, so you should expect people to be confused if you start talking about 'the third Belle and Sebastian album' without making it clear which one you mean.

Tigermilk has much more in common with If You're Feeling Sinister than any of their later albums; Stuart Murdoch sings lead on all of the tracks, the instrumentation is relatively bare, and many of the songs seem to be written from the point of view of a geeky schoolboy.

The sound engineering is not exactly top-notch, but it certainly doesn't stop this from being a great album with some classic songs - the lyrics are generally witty and sometimes touching, and while the band may have matured musically since they recorded this the tunes here are mostly very strong. The full track listing is as follows:

  1. The State I Am In
  2. Expectations
  3. She's Losing It
  4. You're Just A Baby
  5. Electronic Renaissance
  6. I Could Be Dreaming
  7. We Rule The School
  8. My Wandering Days Are Over
  9. I Don't Love Anyone
  10. Mary Jo

Apparently tigermilk is also slang for semen, although I've never actually heard it used that way.
Also a brand of "healthy" candy bars often found in health food stores — or in the same section of the supermarket that sells Tiger Balm (although that stuff's made by a totally different company).

Tiger's Milk bars were introduced in the 1960s and there are currently six different flavors:

Tiger's Milk bars come in two sizes: regular and the ever-popular (even in democracies) "king size".

According to Weider Nutrition International (the company that makes the little buggers) they are "loaded" with 18 vitamins and minerals, and have up to 11 grams of protein.

If you have a burning question about Tiger's Milk bars, you can contact them at (800) 435-3948 or drop an email to ConsumerServices@weider.com

Personal note:
The only flavor I have tried is peanut butter which is pretty good — it's the only thing I've ever encountered made with carob that I have actually wanted to finish — although you might want a glass of milk handy. Tiger's Milk bars are much tastier than those other energy bars you see nowadays (although I think Tiger's Milk bars are targeting taste more than "energy").

I have also heard tigermilk used as the name of a highly nutritious concoction, which tastes utterly horrible until you get used to it, and which is made by throwing together all the healthiest foods you can into a blender and trying to overcome your immense revulsion at its texture.

Specifically, into a liquid base of yoghurt and fruit juice, you add brewer's yeast, powdered milk, fruit (a banana is good, but don't waste anything too precious like raspberries), wheat germ, lecithin, and anything else you think it might take. Experiment and be prepared to throw it all away.

The horrible part is the brewer's yeast, but after a while you can acquire a taste for it; it's a strong taste in the vague area of coffee or even chocolate.

The unreliable nutritionist Adele Davis called it pep-up, and gave fairly exact proportions; but she was also insistent on adding some chemical to get enough magnesium, and the odd spoonful of dilute hydrochloric acid for your tummy, and other such foibles. You would also be drinking this gunk five times a day if you lived under her thumb.

In real life it's infinitely variable: the basic idea is that yoghurt and orange juice in sufficient proportions and to taste will mask surprisingly large quantities of the unpalatable powders you know are very good for you, but which are difficult to take in other forms.

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