Stephin Merritt opts to show fans another side: Aidin Vaziri | The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt has made the perfect album to capture the loud, scruffy spirit of the 18th annual Noise Pop Festival. The only problem is that he released “Distortion,” his feedback-drenched tribute to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s blasts of white noise, two years ago when his band last played the festival. On the other hand, Merritt’s new album, “Realism,” which the band will perform selections from on Saturday and March 1, was inspired by the delicate chamber-folk sounds of Judy Collins’ mid-’60s records, “Wildflower” and “In My Life.” “I went on a big folk record shopping trip,” Merritt says. “It was a yearlong spree, in fact. And I listened to all of the stuff before I made ‘Realism.’ ” This isn’t the first time the literate 44-year-old singer-songwriter, whose entire wardrobe consists of shades of brown and white, has taken an abrupt creative turn. Read more.