The album was initially released on August 18, 1996, exclusively on CD format through the Los Angeles independent record label/fanzine Flipside after a few of the label's staff members were impressed by the band's performance in a small Los Angeles club. The record was recorded in Los Angeles for only $600 after concluding a U.S. tour. The album has been noted for its lack of distortion, which is due to the fact that guitarist Jim Ward believed his recordings wouldn't be used for the final master. Reflecting upon the aftermath of recording Acrobatic Tenement, vocalist Cedric Bixler stated in 2013: "Before [the album's release], the band had broken up. We did a U.S. tour and we decided to split up. I always needed Jim to be there, but he'd had a falling out with Omar. We'd made a bunch of dumb moves at the time — kicked the drummer [Ryan Sawyer] who was on the record out, and then the other guitar player [Adam Amparan] — but then Tony and Paul came and played. Omar switched to guitar at the time, because he played bass on that album, so when we played live, it was a lot different."