The song "Screaming Skull" is about the band's nostalgia for their days on independent labels, particularly SST Records, which is mentioned frequently throughout the song, along with the label's "Superstore" in Los Angeles. Unlike in previous Sonic Youth albums, guitarist Lee Ranaldo did not write or sing any songs on this album. According to the band's official website, if the volume is turned up high on this album one can hear Sister played underneath.
Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star was released on May 3, 1994 by DGC Records. The album peaked at number 34 on the Billboard 200 chart. Previously, the band's best performance on that chart was Dirty, which reached No. 89. It was their highest peak on the US charts until The Eternal reached No. 18 in 2009. The song "Bull in the Heather" was released as a single in April 1994, along with a music video featuring Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill. The track "Self-Obsessed and Sexxee" was intended to be the second single from this album. A promo CD was issued, but plans for a regular release were cancelled and promo pressing ceased. The remaining copies were sold off through Sonic Death. The CD included the same B-sides as "Bull in the Heather". As of 2005, the album has sold 246,000 copies in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Rolling Stone described the album as "quietly confident; more ambitious and weirder than Dirty", though "they've saved their integrity at the expense of quality; with a little more grease, their grit might get across better."Alternative Press praised the album's "cool" aesthetic, stating that it does not "appeal to folks who like their culture served to them on a stick." In 2014, Guitar World placed Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star at number 44 in their "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.